Since 1972 Philadelphia has been celebrating gay pride and the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots with a parade, but for many young people, the 2017 experience was fresh.
“It’s been so much fun,” Kali Menendez, 19, said as she explained her joy. She drove down from New York with her girlfriend Kacie Peters, 17, and another couple.
This is the 29th year that Philly Pride Presents has put together the Philadelphia Pride Parade and Festival, which draws revelers from across the country. Love, happiness, and acceptance was felt throughout the parade route. A new variation of the rainbow-colored LGBT Pride flag, including a black and brown stripe, which debuted at Philadelphia City Hall on June 8, was visible but not prevalent along the parade route. The new stripes, signifying “more colors, more pride,” are meant to highlight the commitment of the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs to be responsive to the concerns of LGBT people of color.
Parade participants of all stripes danced, sang, and tossed goodies to spectators. Groups came from local gay bars, religious associations, and big companies like Comcast and Independence Blue Cross.
One company making its first appearance this year was outdoor outfitter REI. Retail sales manager at the Conshohocken store, Barry Cohen, said it was important to participate in the parade.
“Not everyone’s idea of outdoor adventure is summiting a mountain. To me it can be as simple as walking down the street encouraging others to march with you,” he said.
Parade staples helped close out the 2017 Pride Parade. The Flaggots color guard dazzled march attendees with an impressive demonstration of their flag-twirling skills, and the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus concluded with a full show of dancing and singing.
As the parade faded out, revelers spilled into surrounding neighborhoods and the Penn’s Landing waterfront for a festival to continue the celebration.