Rainbow flags and floats will festoon Center City on Sunday for what organizers say is the “largest ever" Philadelphia Pride Parade, celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
Not able to make Philly’s festivities? For the first time ever, you’ll be able to catch the parade on TV later this month.
This year’s parade will be televised for the first time in its 31-year history, according to its organizers. 6ABC will film the celebration to air June 30 alongside a 30-minute special on the Stonewall Riots — demonstrations that grew after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969, sparking what is widely considered the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
“We always try to represent the entire community and for a few years we tried to see if we could add this parade to our year-round representation of what’s happening in the community,” John Morris, vice president of multiplatform platform programming for 6ABC, told Philly Gay News in May.
Here’s what you should know.
The Philly parade kicks off at 13th and Locust Streets at 11 a.m., snaking east on Locust to Washington Square and onto Seventh Street, east on Market Street, and south on Front Street, arriving at the festival at Penn’s Landing around 1 p.m., according to the event’s website. The festival — where wristbands will cost $15 — will feature more than 150 groups and vendors. This year’s theme is “Stonewall 50," paying homage to the 50th anniversary of the riots.
The area around 13th and Locust Streets will close by 9 a.m., according to Lauren Cox, a spokesperson with the mayor’s office. Streets along the parade route will be closed until sanitation crews can clear them, while cross streets will be reopened as the parade moves. The full route is expected to reopen by 1 p.m., Cox said.
The Broad Street Line’s Walnut-Locust Station is the closest stop for parade participants and viewers. Riders along the Market-Frankford Line or SEPTA’s trolley lines can head to 13th Street, while bus routes 9, 12, 21, 23, 42, or 45 will get you to the festivities, according to SEPTA.
Those heading right to the festival can head take the Market-Frankford Line to 2nd Street, or hop on bus routes 12, 21, 25, 42, 17, 33, or 48.
Subway, bus, and trolley schedules can be found on SEPTA’s website.
Riders along bus routes 5, 9, 12, 17, 21, 23, 33, 38, 42, 44, 45, 47, 47M, 57, and 61 should expect detours from 8 a.m until 4 p.m. Sunday, according to SEPTA spokesperson Heather Redfern.
The first Pride Parade was held as a march in New York City on June 28, 1970, commemorating the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
“Back then, it took a new sense of audacity and courage to take that giant step into the streets of Midtown Manhattan,” Fred Sargeant, one of the organizers of the first march, wrote in a Village Voice essay.
But it was in Philadelphia that some of the first gay-rights activism took place.
In 1965, years before the Stonewall Riots or New York’s parade, Philadelphia activists held silent vigils and polite “Annual Reminder” pickets outside Liberty Hall, advocating for LGBTQ rights.
And while Philly’s first official Pride Parade didn’t take place until 1988, a lesser-known Pride march took place in 1972. There, participants were met with open hostility, jeering, and booing — a far cry from today’s televised citywide celebration.
“As a kid in rural Ohio, if I had the opportunity to turn on the TV and see a sea of rainbows, I might not have felt so afraid,” he said.