After 30 years, the annual June PrideFest celebration of Pittsburgh's, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community has morphed into a more-than-month-long slate of activities that includes several firsts: the debut of an Off Broadway act, a visit by a bike tour promoting same-sex marriage rights, and Pride Day at a Pirates game at PNC Park.
PrideFest itself, on June 19, has moved to the North Shore's Great Lawn (next to the Fort Duquesne Bridge) and along the river walkway. "It's a street fair without the street," says event Chairman Robert Sette of Regent Square, offering vendors, information booths, entertainment (to be announced) and a children's area for the second year in a row, thanks to the increasing number of gay couples starting families.
The month begins with the latest Outrageous Bingo on June 5 on Ellsworth Ave. as a benefit for Pittsburgh's Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Squirrel Hill and the Shepherd Wellness Community, which serves people affected by HIV/AIDS. It ends with the July 1 visit of the Rainbow Ride, a couple of lesbian grandmothers, Carrie and Elisia Ross-Stone, cycling from San Francisco through the middle of America to promote marriage rights for gay couples (see rainbowlaw.com/newrainbow/html/Rbowride.htm). They're stopping here at The Andy Warhol Museum both to join speakers for their cause and because Carrie is a Pittsburgh native.
New York City's contribution to the month is the opening night of Jeffery Roberson's cabaret drag act, "Varla Jean Merman, Under a Big Top," June 8 at City Theatre, which is a benefit for Pittsburgh Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Squirrel Hill.
Other events include a showing of the movie Eating Out, a Father's Day pancake brunch, seminars and more.
When the Pirates face the Seattle Mariners on the night of June 19, PrideFest Chair Robert Sette is hoping local members of the gay community will fill all 500 seats Fest organizers have purchased as a bloc. Several members of the glbt community will throw out the honorary first pitch. It's an inter-league game, Sette notes: "It's sure to be a nice big crowd there to see us."