LGBTQ families celebrate Pride with new arts festival


Philadelphia Family Pride is expanding its annual Pride celebration from a small picnic to a large-scale arts festival in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs and the Mt. Airy Art Garage.

This year’s celebration will be held June 23 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the newly renovated Lovett Library Park.

Evan Thornburg, deputy director for the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, presented the idea to Philadelphia Family Pride.

“I’ve known about the picnic for years and knew that we could help it to be a bigger celebration,” Thornburg said. “I grew up in a two-dad household and for a long time, I thought that we were the only queer family around. We need more spaces to celebrate LGBTQ families so that they can see themselves reflected within the community.”

Stephanie Haynes, executive director of Philadelphia Family Pride, said the festival is expected to be the organization’s largest event of the year.

“The Mayor’s Office has fully supported what we do and encouraged us to make it a bigger celebration. This is the first time that we’re collaborating with so many other organizations in the community to spotlight LGBTQ families,” Haynes said. “Our past picnics had up to 50 attendees, and this year we’re expecting a much-larger turnout thanks to our collaborative efforts.”

Philadelphia Family Pride is a community for LGBTQ prospective parents and families to engage in social events, education and advocacy. Every year, the organization hosts a picnic during Pride month in celebration of LGBTQ families. This year, the picnic will include art exhibits, crafts, live music, food trucks and family-specific entertainment such as face-painting, balloon animals and a juggling performance.

Mayor Jim Kenney and members of City Council will deliver speeches to open the event. The festival will also feature resource tables hosted by eight other LGBTQ organizations: William Way LGBT Community Center, 50 Shades of Purple Against Bullying, PFLAG, ACLU Pennsylvania, Human Rights Campaign, Sister Space, LGBT Elder Initiative and Action Wellness.

The Mt. Airy Art Garage, a community art center, is providing the music and art.  Artists will display and sell a wide range of work including fine art, photography, handmade soaps, hand-blown glass and woodwork. Nearly half of the artists participating identify as LGBTQ. 

The Anna Crusis Choir and Jan Jeffries’ drumming group Music Over Matter will perform live.

Linda Slodki, president and cofounder of Mt. Airy Art Garage, said that the festival is unlike any celebration Mt. Airy has ever seen.

“Mt. Airy has a large queer-family population and we have yet to have something of this magnitude for LGBTQ families in the area,” Slodki said. “We’re welcoming all to come to this festival to see that queer families are just like every other family type. We also want to provide a platform for the LGBTQ artists within our community as well.”