Sunday, rainbow flags, glitter & several pounds of confetti sugared Market Street in Center City Philadelphia. More than 160 groups participated in the Philadelphia Pride Day Parade as well as the accompanying festival at Penn’s Landing.
Appropriately themed, “25 Years of Pride,” the 2013 Pride Day Parade welcomed the LGBTQ community and its straight allies to celebrate 25 years of the parade. The Lesbian and Gay Pride of the Delaware Valley Inc., now known as Philly Pride Presents hosted the first official Pride Day Parade in 1989.
The Parade began at 13th and Locust Streets. The procession trailed down Market Street entertaining sidewalk audiences and lastly a judging stand near Fifth and Market Streets. Performing groups included the winners of “Best Theme,” The Attic Youth Center with a theatrical takeoff on Alice in Wonderland, along with the Liberty City Kings drag and burlesque troupe doing their rendition of “Going to the Chapel” and the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus singing ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.”
Larry Felzer and Amber Hikes served as the grand marshals with Jim Julia as Friend of Pride.
In perfect pride form controversy followed as the event’s Celebrity Grand Marshal was Omarosa Manigault, the reality TV star – and minister – who was famously fired by Donald Trump on NBC’s The Apprentice. Omarosa, known for her keen business mind and sharp tongue, to many appeared a less than savory choice. However, much of the public is not aware of Omarosa’s long time support of the LGBTQ community over the years.
Franny Price, Executive Director of Philly Pride Presents, recognized that Omarosa was a great advocate of LGBTQ community and youth in particular, thus felt she was a perfect fit for Philly’s Grand Marshal. Price said, ” Omarosa ‘s presence at the Parade was powerful and meaningful. She was not about self-promotion but rather the promotion of the Attic Youth and the community.”
Gloria Casarez, a parade judge & Director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia, presented Oberon Wackwitz, an 18-year-old member of the Attic Youth Center, attended the Pride Parade celebration for the first time & was selected as the 2013 parade youth grand marshal for his community activism. Also recognized, Carrie Jacobs, Executive Director of the Attic Youth Center, was presented with an Award for her work with the Attic and her leadership in the community. The Attic has provided LGBTQ youth with a sense of community while developing programs and services to counteract the prejudice and oppression. The Attic Youth Center will soon be celebrating its 20 years of of service to the LGBTQ Youth Community.
The 2013 Pride Day Parade was a uniquely special experience said Jacobs, “this particular pride was amazing because one of our Attic Youth, Oberon Wackwitz, was elected grand marshal.”
Young Wackwitz shared that this Pride was very special because it was his very first Pride Day Parade. He then addressed the Pride Day crowd with warmth and stated, “I know my gay history, and I know we haven’t been as loved as other groups,” Wackwitz said. “The parade is a symbol of how far we’ve come, and what we’ve pushed and fought for. It’s about our acceptance and our rights.”
Jacobs also heralded Omarosa for sincerely reaching out to the Attic youth. Omarosa visited the Attic Youth Center early Sunday morning before the Parade and made genuine connections with the youth. Jacobs recalled, ” Omarosa was amazing, she danced and laughed with the youth and really listened to our kids. Watch out Omarosa, you may just find yourself with new and kinder reputation.