Since 1998, the Pride Center of Western New York has worked to help overcome the challenges faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community. One of the significant challenges this community has faced historically is access to information, and referrals to needed services, as well as referrals to community friendly businesses and organizations.
A primary directive of Pride Center, a non-profit organization, is striving to provide leadership for the LGBTQ community, strengthen lines of communication and exchange of information, expand awareness, education and visibility, while creating a safe environment for members and organizations to meet, and share in their goals.
Pride Center is celebrating Buffalo’s 25th Pride-iversary by theming this year’s Pride Week R/Evolution–a play on the words revolution and evolution–to commemorate the historic and courageous steps the people of the Pride Community took 25 years ago with the first Pride celebration, the first steps toward the community’s evolution into acceptance, inclusion and equality.
Starting on Tuesday, May 31st, the Pride Center will launch their annual Pride Festival – a week-long celebration of the LGBTQ community. Kicking off Pride Week is a flag raising ceremony in Niagara Square at noon on May 31st. Community members, and advocates will join Mayor Byron Brown and other city officials in raising the LGBTQ community flag in front of City Hall, signaling the beginning of pride week. The flag raising event is free to attend and everyone is welcome to take part in this event.
Other events throughout the week include the Big Gay Sing on June 1st, the Gay 5K Run on June 2nd, the Chroma Art Exhibition and Flex Dance Party on June 3rd, the Dyke March and Momentum Coming Out Party on June 4th.
The week of celebration wraps up on June 5th with the Pride Parade. Beginning at the corner of Elmwood and Forest Ave at 12:00PM, the Pride Parade will paint the city rainbow colors as it makes its way to the end of the parade route at Allen Street. The Pride Parade this year will see over 100 participating organizations and sponsors marching together in celebration of LGBTQ history, culture and achievements. Colorful floats, and even more colorful characters will embellish this family friendly celebration, attended annually by thousands of area residents.
Immediately following the Pride Parade will be the Pride Festival, from 1:00PM until 7:00PM at Buffalo Canalside.
Pride Festival 2015 attracted over 15,000 attendees and this year’s festival will most likely exceed that attendance mark. No other festival in WNY brings together the variety of people that Pride Fest does. Featuring a live performance from recording artist Deborah Cox on the main stage, and a Premium Access area sponsored by Barefoot Wines, Pride Fest 2016 at Canalside will have something for everyone. General admission tickets to this family friendly festival are only $5, and children under 10 years of age can attend for free. Premium Access tickets are $40 and are for 21+ only.
R/Evolution concludes on June 21st with a Candlelight Wish Celebration at Evergreen Commons at 7:30PM, as a recognition of Buffalo’s LGBTQ Community’s first public outdoor celebration held behind the Buffalo Historical Society in 1991. The event will include performances, presentations and a re-enactment of the events of the 1991 Celebration, including digitally remastered footage of that inaugural event.
A full listing of events and details can be found online at http://www.buffalopridefestival.com/