Earlier this month, The Public Opinion announced that Chambersburg would join the celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month in June with its first Pride Parade this summer. Although it is true that Chambersburg will celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month, their celebration will not include a parade.
U-Belong, a local group supporting the LGBTQ community and their allies, founded by local transgender woman Sasha Mowen, has started planning and preparation of events in celebration of Pride Month. Mowen explains the kick off to this celebration will be a walk or a “hometown parade” open to all ages.
Pride celebration will begin on Friday, June 2, which is also First Friday in downtown Chambersburg. First Friday is held once a monthfrom May until September and features fun, free family friendly activities and a farmers market. First Fridays also have themed events about mental health and wellness.
Mowen states that she plans to have some vendors and different organizations giving out information about support groups, hotlines, and health providers during June. There will be a silent auction sponsored by Jamie Bryant, owner of J Bryant Photography and Design located in downtown Chambersburg.
The celebration will continue Saturday, June 3, with vendors around the square. There will be a moment of silence for those who cannot celebrate followed by a walk, along with music, art galleries, and auctions. On Sunday, June 4, Brussel’s Café will host a brunch. Other plans for Sunday are still in the works.
Mowen would like for people to not only focus on this weekend in June. She mentions how there are different event plans throughout the month.
“This is a celebration of diversity. We want to make it open, we are trying to keep the community aware,” Mowen says.
U-Belong is currently working out a relationship with the LGBT Community Center of Central PA since the organization includes the Fulton County area. However, at this moment there is no real presence in the county. Profits will go towards developing an LGBT resource center in Chambersburg and a Second Chance Prom. Second Chance Prom will give an opportunity to have a perfect prom to anyone who for one reason or another did not have a perfect prom the first time.
Other LGBT Pride events are in the planning process. “We might not have everything this year but, as we progress, we will have more and more,” explained Mowen. There are multiple local businesses and organizations that will be involved during the kick-off weekend to Pride month, as well as throughout different events during the month.
These business include The Thought Lot in Shippensburg, J. Bryant Photography & Designs, Brussel’s Café, and Garage Studios in Chambersburg. There are also various bands that have expressed interest in being part of these events.
For more information on this event, go to the Chambersburg LGBT Pride Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/737469899763844/.