Harrisburg Pride Parade in Jeopardy

A meeting will be held tonight at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Harrisburg to discuss the future of the Harrisburg Pride Parade. Citing poor attendance and an increased cost of hosting the event, Central Voice warned that the event is in jeopardy of being canceled. While many Pride Festivals around the country are supported by corporate sponsorship, Harrisburg Pride is largely supported by community organizations. The event costs $8,000 to put on, and generates no income. Additionally, attendance at the event is down.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 pm, at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 118 State Street. Please consider attending to let your voice be heard. The future of Central Pennsylvania Pride is at stake.

The Board of Directors for the Pride Festival of Central PA wrote the following letter to the Pennsylvania LGBTQ community.

With festival and Parade permits in hand, the Pride Festival of Central PA Board of Directors and volunteers are busier than ever in preparing for this year’s Unity Parade and Festival.

Headliners for 2013 are outstanding: All female headliner Take 147 takes center stage as the festival’s main act. Other acts include Steel Kitty and Day Taunt.

The tents and stages are on order, you’ll see some new and familiar vendors and drag queens and boy do we have a great Headliner act lined up, Take 147, to knock your socks off, plus some other very talented performers on both stages.

No doubt, this year’s festival will be one of our best and most fabulous, but all of this takes time, effort and funds to accomplish.

Throughout the year we work very hard to raise the necessary funds for both our Parade and festival by holding drag shows, bus trips and other fundraisers that brings us together as a community to have fun while raising the money we earnestly need to put together the awesome pride events you’ve come to expect.

At the same time, we’re also pounding the pavement contacting and looking for generous businesses and individuals for sponsorships and financial donations to supplement our fundraising efforts as well as our gate receipts.

Frankly, our fundraising goals this year have not been meeting our quarterly targets, as such we have to prudently evaluate where we spend the financial resources we have for the Parade and festival. We have some tough choices to make in the days ahead and I’m writing you to ask for your help and participation.

Over the past 43 years, since the nation’s very first pride Parade took place in New York City, gay pride parades have become a tradition in Harrisburg as well as other cities across the globe, having evolved from raucous and radical marches into celebratory joyful occasions celebrating our community’s diversity and history with decorative and highly creative floats, talented marching bands and performers, and all kinds of well known and political personalities marching for equality and the other causes near and dear to our unique community.

We know how very important and symbolic the Parade is to our LGBT heritage and the Central PA Pride Festival, but it is also one of our costliest events to produce, coming in a little under $8,000. In these challenging fiscal times, regrettably the Parade is in danger of being canceled this year due to its high cost and lack of self-sustaining revenue.

This decision is not being taken lightly and which is why we want the Greater Harrisburg area LGBT community to help us select the best option going forward this year, so we’re asking for you to attend our monthly Pride Festival of Central PA Board of Directors meeting to give us your feedback and ideas on saving the Parade.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday May 21, 2013 at 7:30 PM at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church 118 State Street, Harrisburg, Pa. 17101

We hope to see as many of you there as possible to help us keep a great tradition. And if with all of our best efforts and talents the Parade happens to be canceled this year, the festival will still go on as fabulous as ever and we promise to double down our efforts with your help to bring it back next year.

The Board of Directors for the Pride Festival of Central PA

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