How is York County celebrating Pride Month this June?
After last year's Pride Month festivities were shifted to a virtual stage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tesla Taliaferro aimed to organize the best 2021 Pride the Rainbow Rose Center could host.
And that meant extensive planning and a slew of phone calls starting six months ago.
"We wanted to prioritize the safety and health for the community and put on the best show we could," Taliaferro said. "This is about community, and this is the community supporting the LGBTQ community."
The Rainbow Rose Center is a nonprofit organization in York County providing support and resources to the LGBTQ community. This year, the center is hosting several events throughout the entire month of June — both virtual and in person.
First Friday will launch the Rainbow Rose Center's month of Pride festivities, paired with the center's first drag show since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, the Rainbow Rose Center will have a booth set up for First Friday where individuals can stop by for Pride Month gear — including flags, stickers and buttons.
A drag show is slated for 8 p.m. Friday at The Handsome Cab, located at 106 N. George St. There will be limited seating for the show, and Taliaferro said he encourages people to purchase their tickets in advance.
Tickets cost $10 online or $15 at the door. Interested individuals can reserve their tables for the drag show by visiting https://www.rainbowrosecenter.org/ and clicking on the pride calendar tab.
On Saturday, the Rainbow Rose Center's first-ever York County Pride will stream a virtual presentation with keynote speakers including Gov. Tom Wolf, drag shows, poetry and musical performances.
The pre-recorded video will be presented live at 11 a.m. from the Rainbow Rose Center's YouTube page or can be viewed from the Appell Center's Capitol Theatre, located at 50 N. George St.
Seating at the Capitol Theatre is free and on a first come, first served basis. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.
"We recognize that some people may be disappointed that some activities are virtual," Taliaferro said, adding that it was important for the Rainbow Rose Center to offer virtual events for those who are still uncomfortable with in-person activities.
On June 6, the second annual Pancakes for Pride, hosted in conjunction with the York Jewish Community Center, will invite York County residents to snack on rainbow-sprinkled pancakes while listening to a family-friendly drag story time, drag show and obstacle course, Taliaferro said.
The brunch box is $10 and will come with three pancakes, a fruit cup, rainbow sprinkles, syrup and butter. Pancakes must be pre-ordered by Tuesday by visiting https://www.rainbowrosecenter.org/.
Pancakes for Pride is slated from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Individuals can either pick up their pancakes to go or stay for the festivities at the York Jewish Community Center, located at 2000 Hollywood Drive.
"So many of these events are coming to us because people approach us with ideas," Taliaferro said. "It's wonderful to see that acceptance of the community for the LGBTQ population."
Further embodying Taliaferro's sentiments, the York Revolution baseball team is hosting Pride at the Ballpark at 6:30 p.m. on June 11, with 50% of ticket purchases going back to supporting the Rainbow Rose Center.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting https://www.yorkrevolution.com/.
Closing out Pride Month in York County will be a clothing closet drive at Union Lutheran Church and an opera show and silent auction.
The clothing drive, slated from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 26 at Union Lutheran Church, 408 W. Market St., is an opportunity for LGBTQ individuals — especially those who are transgender — to come and pick out clothing that best represents them, Taliaferro said.
Individuals are invited to either drop clothing off or to come pick up some items, he added.
"We want them to be their authentic selves here and feel safe doing so," Taliaferro said.
Also on June 26 is Opera Susquehanna's performance of "Sempre Libera!" — a musical compilation of the top songs in Italian opera — including “Nessun Dorma” from the opera "Turandot" and “Vesti la Giubba” from "Pagliacci."
The show is slated for 7 p.m. at the Appell Center's Strand Theatre. Tickets can be purchased by visiting https://appellcenter.org/.
Lastly, throughout the entirety of Pride Month, the Rainbow Rose Center invites residents to check out a new traveling exhibit open for viewing at the York College Center for Community Engagement, located at 59 E. Market St. in downtown York.
The exhibit, "With Open Heart and Open Arms: LGBTQ Cuban Refugees and the LGBTQ Community’s Response to the Mariel Boatlift," will be on display starting Wednesday to June 30 and detail the story of LGBTQ Cuban refugees who came to Pennsylvania 40 years ago, Taliaferro said.
"I'm very excited to present this opportunity to the community," Taliaferro added. "We're here to celebrate the entire community."
— Reach Tina Locurto at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.