Reading to celebrate Pride

June may have passed but the Pride festivals aren’t over yet.

This weekend, catch the ninth-annual Reading Pride Celebration, a not-to-be-missed Berks County event.

Reading Pride will take place noon-6 p.m. July 19 at Centre Park, 733 Centre Ave.

Headlining this year’s festival is “American Idol” season-seven contestant David Hernandez. Additional entertainment will be provided by Miss Reading Pride Celebration 2015 Nevaeha Le’Vixenn, Miss Gay PA America 2015 Ashley Lynn, Mr. Lancaster Pride 2015 Le Kross D’Aire, dance troupe Kozmic Edge and many more.

The festival will also feature free HIV testing and food vendors. Tickets are $5 for adults; children 12 and under are free.

A pre-Pride pool party will take place 6 p.m.-midnight July 17 at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Reading. Admission is $5. A post-Pride party will also be held at the hotel immediately following Pride. There is a $5 cover, and guests must be 21 and up.

“We’re absolutely excited about this year’s Pride, especially after the marriage-equality ruling,” said Richard Spangler, president of Reading Pride. “Our headliner, David Hernandez, is going to be amazing. Plus, the community has really gotten on board.”

Spangler said the local business community recently launched an initiative to support the LGBT community, garnering backing from 275 businesses.

“They have signed onto the initiative to show their support for us. It feels great to have the business community behind us,” Spangler said.

An interfaith service — a Reading Pride tradition — was held July 11 at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County. The services brought together Native-American, Buddhist, Judaic and Christian faiths. 

For more information, visit www.readingpridecelebration.org.