After PrideFest cancellation, Hampton Roads Pride celebrates with ‘Pride Matters’ campaign


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — This year’s Hampton Roads PrideFest, scheduled for last weekend, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual event brings love to the forefront and was originally going to be postponed.

“When the quarantine began, we were just at the beginning of our planning phases so we were able to react quickly. We worked hard with our partners and our community partners to [postpone] that a bit until later this summer, but unfortunately our board and our partners all kind of came to the same decision that it just wouldn’t be possible this year to celebrate PrideFest,” said Hampton Roads Pride President Cole Werkheiser.

But Werkheiser says this year’s festival theme, Pride Matters, lives on.

“We had to reimagine that campaign and so part of that is a video series, which we’ve been rolling out weekly, every Thursday. The first one aired last week on our social media and we’ll be rolling out a new pride matters video each week, which is about three minutes. It introduces various people from the community and it allows them to talk and share some insight into why pride matters,” Werkheiser explained.

That video series will continue until October 3, which is their 5k Run the Rainbow Event.

He says they are prepared to turn that into a virtual event if need be.

He says they’ll also be announcing some smaller community events in the coming weeks.

Werkheiser says this month is important because we live in a world where LGBTQ people still have to worry about their rights. Especially with all that’s going on in the world, he wants people to remember, pride matters.

“I think it’s important for people to remember the LGBT the pride movement really began back in 1969 at Stonewall in New York City. That was a riot against police harassment and brutality so when we look at how far pride has evolved from then to now, it’s certainly a stark contrast and if [it’s] something we’re able to celebrate now, pride matters is important for our future,” Werkheiser said.

Werkhesier says they’re always looking for volunteers.

As of now, they are still planning their second-annual pride night at Harbor Park on Aug. 26.

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