Our 2009 events were the following:
2009 NERP Conference: In March, we acted as host committee for all gay Pride organizations from the northeastern United States. By all accounts, it was an overwhelming success, from the tours of City Hall Tower and the opening reception in the City Council Caucus Room to the dinner at the National Liberty Museum. Over 25 groups were in attendance.
2009 PrideDay Parade and Festival: In June, we had a simply great PrideDay. The City of Philadelphia threatened to rain on our parade with a fantastic bill for city/police services. We were happy to have worked it out and be placed on a payment schedule. The Penn’s Landing Festival, and the $10 admission charge, is the event that funds our yearly programming. The festival pays for itself, the parade and the city and Penn’s Landing fees, and provides the startup money for Outfest, for which we do not (and cannot) charge admission. Alec Mapa was wonderful as the headliner.
2009 Outfest Block Party: In October, we coordinate the largest National Coming Out Day event in the world. Outfest was a spectacular success, though it’s never a financial success. We certainly had a bigger crowd than ever before, with more vendors and community groups present. Vending fees and alcohol sales, along with sponsor contributions, added to the PrideDay funds and helped us close off the year very near the break-even point.
We certainly need to acknowledge the support we get from the Philadelphia Gayborhood and the Delaware Valley LGBT community, without which we could not hope to do what we do. Philadelphia Gay News is an integral part of our access to the community, and we thank its publisher and staff for their hard work and coverage. We also would like to acknowledge and thank the directors and board of the Equality Forum for choosing a SundayOut venue other than Penn’s Landing. It was our concern that a May event that resembled our June festival would be counterproductive and confusing, but that has been avoided.
As always, remember that we are a volunteer group and we are always looking for new members to help us. If you like attending our events, think how much you would like planning them and bringing them to fruition. Call our Pride hotline and join us, (215) 875-9288. As the longest serving coordinator, it is always rewarding to see the “million points of light” of our community sparkle in these events. There is always more room for another individual with unique talents and skills to join us in our efforts, adding your own special illumination. We would welcome you.
Once again, thank you, Philadelphia. It is our pleasure to serve as your gay Pride organization.
Chuck Volz is senior advisor for Philly Pride Presents.