Creating an inclusive, safe Pride in the Triboro Ecodistrict

PRIDE Millvale will be held on Saturday, June 22. Love, Pride will be on Friday, June 28 and Pride Sharpsburg is on Saturday, June 29.

July 10, 2024

Photo by Wes Mason Media

The meaning of Pride is multifaceted. It began as a protest, and over the decades has blossomed into a bouquet of descriptors as diverse as the LGBTQ+ community.

This year at PRIDE Millvale, attendees will have the opportunity to share what it means to them.

“We are going to do kind of a theme of, 'Pride is…' and then 'insert your own phrase,' because it’s gone through so many iterations and changes. It’s a collective but also a personal thing,” said Jasper, a co-organizer for the event.

The celebration is from 12-8 p.m. on Saturday, June 22 and Grant Avenue will be closed to accommodate the festivities and over 100 vendors. The main stage at GAP Park, 518 Grant Ave., will have eight hours of live music and performances throughout the day, ending with a closing drag showcase with drag entertainers that headline events throughout the city.

“We’re working with our programming committee to ensure that we have things like photo booths, dance parties, and crafts located around the different areas of the festival,” said AJ Bee, a co-organizer for PRIDE Millvale and owner of Glittersty. “And as always, Jasper and the accessibility committee are ensuring that we have a sensory friendly space.”

If anyone is feeling overwhelmed and needing to recalibrate during the event, they can make their way to the Millvale Food + Energy Hub, 112 E. Sherman St. AJ has been involved with PRIDE Millvale since it began in 2021, and said from the inception it’s been part of their mission to include a diverse group of activities “for as many age ranges and as many ability levels as we can.”

Businesses within Millvale are partnering with the local celebration to host their own smaller events during the day, and shops throughout the Triboro are doing the same in their communities.

Love, Katie Distilling in Sharpsburg created rainbow Pride bottles for their libations to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in June in the Triboro Ecodistrict. l

Love, Katie Distilling in Sharpsburg is celebrating Pride Sharpsburg a day early from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, June 28 with their own event Love, Pride in the street behind the distillery, 816 Main St. Owner Katie Sirianni said her business is Pennsylvania's first and only LGBTQ+ owned distillery and last year she intentionally opened on International Pride Day, so this year she’s also celebrating her one year anniversary.

“I wanted to put a brand out there and create an event that would bring people together instead of separating them,” Sirianni said. “My brand represents love in all forms, not just within the gay community.”

The event is family friendly and there will be food trucks, vendors, live music, and Trace Brewing will have beverages for sale. Sirianni said she’s excited for the festivities and holding space for local LGBTQ+ folks. The distillery is also hosting a Pride Drag Brunch on Sunday, June 23 and a Pride Trivia on Wednesday, June 26. Pride Sharpsburg will hold a celebration in the borough on Saturday, June 29.

If attendees are interested in getting more involved, PRIDE Millvale, the 3rd Best Street Festival in Pittsburgh, is accepting volunteers. Anyone who wants to support and celebrate the history of the LGBTQ+ movement and create a safe, inclusive space for queer folks is welcome to apply.

“It’s leveraging your own privilege of being able to be loud so that other people can see that it’s ok and know they're not alone,” Jasper said.

“Beyond that,” AJ said, “showing members of the community that someone is living the way they feel, and is visibly and authentically thriving, is life saving.”