At a time when LGBTQ+ culture is facing attacks on several fronts, the New Hope Borough and City of Lambertville communities will host New Hope Celebrates’ PrideFest 2023 this weekend.
The Pride Parade will kick off Saturday at 11 a.m. at Lambertville City Hall at North Union Street and York Street and march down Bridge Street, across the toll-supported bridge to New Hope Borough, and move along Main Street.
The Pride Parade will feature more than 1,000 people taking part with thousands more watching. The parade will have marching bands, floats, various groups, and performers.
Parade reviewing stands will be located at The Lambertville House, Ferry and Main Streets next to The Logan Inn, and at 97 South Main Street.
The Pride Parade is the only one in the nation that crosses state lines, according to organizers.
At the end of South Main Street, New Hope Celebrates will have a Pride Fair following the Pride Parade.
From noon to 5 p.m., there will be vendors, organizations, food and drinks, and live entertainment at Pride Park in the American Legion parking lot.
The Pride Fair is open to those willing to pay a $5 suggested donation, with children under 10 free. Attendees will receive a stamp to come and go freely.
Inside Pride Fair, musicians Ultra Nate and The Boy Band Project will provide music. There will also be a number of local queens. The stage will be hosted by Miss Victoria Lace.
The weekend events follow days of events in anticipation of PrideFest.
“With the increase in attacks against the LGBTQ+ community in our schools and our legislature, it is ever so important for us to continue to find our pride, show up, and represent,” said Melissa Patterson, president of New Hope Celebrates.
Patterson said the attacks on LGBTQ+ culture have highlighted the importance of events like PrideFest.
“We hope that everyone will come out and flood the streets with pride to showcase just how unique and amazing our towns are in their diversity and inclusiveness for all,” she said.
PrideFest 2023, according to organizers, is the biggest yet and marks New Hope Celebrates’ 20th anniversary.
“Our 20th anniversary is a particularly meaningful and nostalgic time for me, as NHC founder and leader for the first decade. I am so proud that what started as a one day affair for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond, has turned into a month of celebratory, diverse, and inclusive events that offer something for everyone. Our journey carries on thanks to generations of community members who populate the NHC Board, each committed to the promotion of our unique area. Bravo to all former and present NHC Board members, volunteers, and the public who turn out every year for our pride,” said Daniel Brooks, who founded New Hope Celebrates.
New Hope Celebrates was established in 2003 with the goal of uniting the community in New Hope and Lambertville to partake in a celebration of inclusion, creativity, variety, and sustainability.
The volunteer staff at New Hope Celebrate has transformed Pride from a one-day celebration into a month-long PrideFest that draws thousands of people to the area.
To celebrate National Gay History Month in 2005, New Hope Celebrates established OUT, which featured the High Heel Drag Race and other autumnal festivities. Initiatives by the group, including the Artist and Author Series, book clubs, tea dances, heritage months, and several other occasions throughout the year, support their goal of creating a society devoid of prejudice, bigotry, and hatred.
“We are fortunate to live and celebrate in a community that accepts and embraces diversity,” said Sharon Fronabarger, former New Hope Celebrates president and current advisor to the board. “While we celebrate we must also remember to thank those who paved the way for us as well as pay it forward and continue to drive for equality and inclusiveness across the LGBTQ+ community.”
For security, police on both sides of the river will be out in force to protect eventgoers.
New Hope Borough police said all bags at festivities will be subject to search.
For more on New Hope Celebrates and PrideFest 2023, visit the organization’s website.