Erie Shows its Pride

Report on Erie Pride 2006

By Dan Burdick

The Erie community showed its pride Saturday, Sept. 30, as an estimated 150 people participated in the Erie Pride March and Rally. The event was organized by Erie Gay Pride, Inc. with the support of the Erie chapter of PFLAG and SHOUT Outreach of Gaudenzia.

Some 60 people got the event started by marching down State Street beginning at The Zone and picking up additional marchers at Papermoon, a stop which was co-sponsored by Trance Dance Club. Both The Zone and Papermoon provided snacks for those assembling to march. The event was covered by WICU TV 12, WJET TV 24, WSEE TV 35 and the Erie Times News.

Although the weather forecast indicated rain and thunderstorms, the day was cloudy with only a few sprinkles. Participation from the Erie region was in keeping with past Erie Pride marches and rallies, although up from last year's event.

The Pride Rally at Perry Square featured a full line-up of speakers and entertainment. Dr. Daniel Burdick, president of Erie Gay Pride, Inc., opened the rally with a short speech and served as emcee for the day.

Performing at the rally were local guitarist/singer Bob Bearfield, drag queen Melody _ Miss Erie 2006, drag king TJ Knight, fusion dance troupe Temple of Bast and drag queen Rhiannon Angelina _ Miss Trance Diva 2006.

Speakers included Joseph Aguglia, Esq., Executive Director of the Erie County Human Relations Commission, Fran Reinsel of SHOUT Outreach from Gaudenzia and Rev. Steve Aschmann, minister of the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Erie. Concluding remarks were made by Mark, treasurer of Erie Gay Pride, Inc. and president of the Erie chapter of PFLAG. The rally was organized by Patrick, vice-president of Erie Gay Pride, Inc.

Lining Perry Square were a number of information and vendor tables. Organizations and businesses represented included the Erie Gay News, Erie County Human Relations Commission, Lambda Car Club, Peter (Erie Book Man), Liberty PA, Sprint, PFLAG-Erie and Crawford Counties, SHOUT Outreach, Alive, Erie Sisters, GLOBAL Education Foundation, The Zone Dance Club, Trance Dance Club and Edinboro University's GLBTA student group, Identity.

Local political figures attending the event included Joy Greco, Erie County Council member (Republican); Christine Pontoriero, candidate for PA House District 1 (Republican) and Tim Reim, candidate for PA House District 3 (Green.)

Many volunteers contributed to the success of the march and rally. The event planning committee of Erie Gay Pride, Inc. wishes to thank John, Michael Watson, Lisa, Preston, Dr. Patrick Jones, Michael Lavalle, Dr. Gerry Hoffman, Pat, Brian, Cedric, Mike Lipiec, Deb Spilko, Michael Mahler, James von Loewe, Bob, Rick, members of Identity and Brian, secretary of Erie Gay Pride, Inc. The City of Erie was very helpful with this year's event including David Rocco and the police department. Special thanks to Sprint for the use of Nextel phones to coordinate the event. Special thanks also to Lee Edmondson of Trance Dance Club for organizing the main fundraiser this year. It was sponsored by SHOUT Outreach of Gaudenzia; special thanks to Fran Reinsel. Special thanks to the Erie chapter of PFLAG for sponsoring the city permits for the event. Special thanks also to the Erie Sisters for donating the bottled water. And finally, special thank to Butch Knight and Dynamic Sounds for the donation of the sound equipment and operation.

Anyone who would like to become involved in planning and/or volunteering for next year's Erie Gay Pride March and Rally, please contact Dr. Daniel Burdick at 814.602.0252.

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