NORFOLK—It’s Pride Week in Hampton Roads, and there’s a lineup of events and festivities happening in the city in preparation for this weekend’s PrideFest.
Residents and supporters of the LGBT community are preparing for the “biggest one-day festival” in the region as PrideFest comes back to town on Saturday, June 17, from noon to 7 p.m. at Town Point Park.
“PrideFest is really a symbol of inclusion as well as a beacon of hope and recognition of the dignity and equality of people, and that is something that is intrinsic of Hampton Roads Pride,” said Michael Berlucchi, president of Hampton Roads Pride. “We know that that message being delivered is one that is very important to the social health of the entire region.”
In celebration of National Pride Month, the 29th annual festival, hosted by Hampton Roads Pride, will feature a series of fun events for all to enjoy starting with a Pride Boat Parade at noon on Saturday.
There will also be plenty of live music for patrons to groove to, including two major headlining performances from the world-renowned Village People and singer-songwriter Martha Wash.
Along with food vendors and live music, there will also be activities and exhibits highlighting LGBT history, an all-day dance stage, and a Silent Disco event.
According to Berlucchi, the festival has grown immensely over the years, starting from a picnic in a city park in Norfolk and developing into a diverse and inclusive extravaganza.
“What that enables us to do is increase our city’s ability to retain and attract the brightest talent and that’s the by-product of our message that’s really valuable for the entire community and the region,” he said.
Along with PrideFest, the City of Norfolk will host a list of events throughout the week to celebrate inclusion and unity.
On Friday, June 16, Residents will be able to dance the night away at the 6th Annual Pride Block Party hosted at the Norfolk Scope Arena from 7 p.m. to midnight.
The circus-theme block party will feature music, dancing and live performances. Admission to the Block Party is $10 at the door, and all proceeds will go towards Hampton Roads Pride and the work they do for the LGBT community in the region.
“We want everyone to know that they are welcome in Hampton Roads, and they can be successful in Hampton Roads and they are valued and respected here,” said Berlucchi. “Our presence and our growth and the Hampton Roads Pride event is one that broadcasts that message all across the region.”