Philly makes history by celebrating love, unity and resilience through the National Coming Out parade and festival.
Philadelphia has once again taken its stand with the LGBTQIA+ community by hosting the nation's first-ever parade and festival dedicated to National Coming Out Day. This milestone was made possible by Galaei, a radical social justice organization that champions queer, trans, black, indigenous and people of color. Known as OURfest (Our Uniting Resilience), this three-day extravaganza was a resounding celebration of love, identity and unity within the LGBTQIA+ community. OURfest comprised a Welcome Party, a National Coming Out Parade and a National Coming Out Festival, all woven together to create an unforgettable experience.
Philadelphia had already shattered records earlier in the year with the "largest Gay Pride march and festival in Philadelphia history" and unfurled the "largest Gay Pride Flag in Pennsylvania history." Now, it was time to set new benchmarks and reaffirm the city's status as a beacon of LGBTQIA+ pride and resilience. Galaei's Executive Director and Community Organizer, Tyrell Brown, shared the organization's vision stating, "Gay Pride and National Coming Out are crucial opportunities for our communities to join together in celebration and reflection, to find family and togetherness, to have access to resources and to share the love, art and joy that are hallmarks of our community."
The festivities kicked off with a grand Welcome Party, a parade preview and a VIP reception at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Held on Friday, October 6th, this event gave attendees an exciting sneak peek at the parade floats. The evening was filled with live music, a cash bar and delightful refreshments, setting the stage for an unforgettable weekend. The heart of the celebration was the National Coming Out Parade, which took place on Saturday, October 7th. This historic event featured an array of floats, community organizations, marching bands, cheerleaders and live performances, all highlighting the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community in the Philadelphia region. An iconic moment was the unveiling of a record-breaking 200-foot rainbow flag, a symbol of love and unity that stretched across the city streets.
The festivities reached their crescendo on Sunday, October 8th, with the National Coming Out Festival and Resource Fair taking over the Gayborhood and Midtown Village. The streets came alive with hundreds of vendors, entertainers, artists, restaurants, food trucks and community organizations, all coming together to celebrate diversity and inclusivity. The festival also featured a resource fair and family zone, ensuring attendees could access vital information and support.
The food trucks made their final call at 6:30 p.m. as the sun set, wrapping up a day filled with love, laughter, and cherished memories. According to event organizers, the festival spanned across the Gayborhood, enveloping the area from 13th and Walnut down to 13th and Locust. Roads were closed selectively to accommodate the festivities, creating an inclusive space where people could come together to embrace their identities and celebrate their shared journey.