PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Rainbows will fill downtown Portsmouth this weekend for the city’s first-ever Pride Festival.
The festival won’t just have drag shows and live entertainment, but organizers also hope to connect the community to resources available to them.
Bracey Parr, the main organizer, says he and his team have been planning since last October.
“We believe that Pride belongs to all of us. It doesn’t belong to a single organization and Portsmouth was a very underserved community,” he said.
The festival will feature live performances, drag shows and access to community groups. Three main nonprofits – The HER Shelter, the LGBT Life Center and Community of Change – will get some support through money raised at the festival.
State Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) told 10 On Your Side in April she cut a check for $15,000 to help sponsor the event.
Community of Change President Lateacia Sessoms says it’s all about connecting with the community with resources and services that are here to help them.
“It’s a resource and resources are for the community and so because we are providing a service that is greatly needed in the community, people need to know that they have access to us,” she said.
The fun starts Friday night across town at the Twisted Pig for a kickoff party. They’ll also host a drag show and the final party on Sunday. Owner Aubrey Sadler says his goal is to make his restaurant a safe place for everyone.
“Our community is very diverse. So we want to create a place that truly represents what I believe to be the City of Portsmouth,” he said.
Parr says they have over 200 volunteers who’ve been working hard to make sure the festival goes on without a hitch.
“It really takes a village and we’ve put together an amazing team and we’re so ready for Saturday,” said Parr.
When asked why they wanted to bring Pride to P-town, organizers say it’s for everyone.
“I believe in people. I believe in communities. And I believe that Pride belongs to all of us,” said Sessoms.
As for why Sadler wanted to help with the inaugural festival: “Love and diversity, inclusion.”