NW PA Pride Alliance reflects on a full 2023
By Rex Apps NWPA Pride Secretary
The NW PA Pride Alliance would like to take a moment to reflect and thank all those
who have helped make 2023 such a success.
Most notably know for planning and hosting the Erie Pride Fest and Parade, many
maybe surprised to learn the Pride Alliance works through out the year looking to
enhance visibility, foster unity and promote acceptance through roughly forty events and
programs creating an inclusive space for all in Northwest Pennsylvania.
The highlight of the year for the NW PA Pride Alliance has always been the annual
celebration of Pride Fest celebrated in Perry's Square in Erie. Thousands come from
around the region to participate in the festivities. Continued also, for 2023, was the
Meadville Pride and Street Fair which also saw growth. NW PA Pride Alliance is one of
only a few Pride organizations who put on multiple Prides during the year.
Another high point of the year for the Pride Alliance was the 30th annual Pride Picnic.
This was held once again at the Rotary Pavilion on Presque Isle, and allows a place for
the community to gather with their chosen family.
New for this year was a Pride Prom that was held in May at the Ambassador Banquet
and Conference Center. The board wanted to provide a fun atmosphere for those who
may not have been able to attend their own prom, or who may not have been able to
attend with the person they would have preferred to. For those who had a good time,
the Pride Alliance is happy to announce this will be returning again for 2024.
The NW PA Pride Alliance has also been visible throughout the area by participating in
local parades. Members have walked for many years in the Millcreek Fourth of July
parade and the Penn West Edinboro Homecoming parade. They have also most
recently made the Meadville Halloween Parade and annual tradition. In addition to
these, the Pride Alliance continues to host monthly Happy Hours on the first
Wednesday of the month at Oasis Pub in Erie, and on the fourth Wednesday of the
month in Meadville alternating between Julian's Bar and Grill and Cussawago Creek
Distillery. The year would not be complete without a trip to support the local sports
teams in Erie with Pride Nights being celebrated with the Otters and Seawolves.
Teaming up with other Queer organizations the NW PA Pride Alliance helped to give
back to our larger community by helping to host some give back events throughout the
year. The Boots and Coats drive which benefited Community Shelter Services was held
in January to help provide much needed items during Erie's cold winters. In May, the
Alliance helped with the collection of nonperishable food items which were donated to
the Erie Second Harvest Food Bank.
Another new endeavor started by the Pride Alliance and in conjunction with eleven other
local queer organizations was to host the first ever Banned Book Drive held in
Northwestern Pennsylvania focusing on queer themed books. The banned books were
collected and then distributed throughout the community by use of the United Ways
Small Library System. This was seen as such an asset to the Queer community that it
helped inspire other collections throughout the Commonwealth.
The NW PA Pride Alliance is grateful to all of our donors and sponsors who help to
improve the visibility of the Queer Community here in Northwestern Pennsylvania. We
stand committed to fostering equality, respect and diversity though out events. We
would like to especially thank the following donors who help us make achieving these
Our Main Stage was sponsored by Erie Insurance. The Health & Wellness Zone was
sponsored by Adagio Health, Central Outreach Wellness Center Erie was the title
Sponsor for the 30th annual Pride Picnic. We are also grateful for support from The First
Energy Foundation and National Fuel Gas.
Rainbow level: Andora's Bubble, Erie County Department of Health, Giant Eagle Pride
Business Resources Group, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Macy's, PNC Bank and
Purple level: Erie Gay News, Whee! Studio, Yoga Spot Meadville
Blue level: Crime Victim Center of Erie County, Jones Pond Campground & RV Park,
Mooney's Bakery, PennWest Edinboro Psi Chi Chapter, SafeNet Center, State Farm
Insurance Agent Natalie Braddock and Steadman Law Office.
Yellow level: Alicia Castorena and LBT Women
Orange level: Samantha Randall
NW PA Pride Alliance has many exciting announcements planned for 2024 so make
sure you stay tuned to Facebook, Instagram and NWPAPride.org to stay connected.