State College Pride celebration grows in its third year
More than 900 people are set to parade their way through State College this weekend as part of the borough’s third-annual Pride celebration. That’s more than triple last year’s participants, according to Cat Cook, the executive director of Centre LGBT+, also known as the Centre LGBTQA Support Network.
Saturday’s Pride parade will begin at State College Area High School and proceed to Allen Street before making its way downtown. There, the walking portion of the parade will march several blocks to Sidney Friedman park, where a festival will take place.
Aside from the parade, Cook said attendees can expect other events throughout the weekend like a fun-fair, an art gallery and a drag queen story hour.
“It’s just a huge amount of people to organize and get ready, and it’s going to be quite a display,” Cook said.
In development for months, Cook said the planning of this year’s Pride has been a collaborative effort between Centre LGBT+, the State College Downtown Improvement District and State College borough.
This year’s new additions to Pride include on-site food vendors, several parade floats and new participants like Alpha Fire Company, Cook said.
The festivities will begin three days after Human Rights Campaign, the largest American LGBTQ advocacy group, announced a “national state of emergency” in reaction to numerous legislative efforts it called anti-LGBTQ.
Cook said State College Pride lets members of the LGBT+ community see that many people support and honor them.
“That really stands in the face of even the harsh climate that we’re in right now,” she said.
Cook called last year’s Pride celebrations “more than heartwarming” and “full of love,” hoping to replicate them this year on a larger scale.
“We see you. We hear you. And we’re really wanting to support you. And that alone is very empowering to the LGBT+ community,” Cook said. “And that’s really what Pride is to me is bringing the community together and really supporting and uniting for the LGBT+ folks that we serve.”
Pride celebrations will begin Friday afternoon and continue through Sunday in various locations throughout the borough. Click here for a full schedule of State College Pride events.