“Be who you are” – that’s the message of the second annual FC Pride in the Park, a family-friendly event scheduled to fill the grounds at Allegheny RiverTrail Park in Aspinwall.
An inclusive festival featuring crafts, carnival games, button making, canvas painting and food will be 5 to 8 p.m. June 9. All are welcome.
“We want folks to come out and show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community and we want people, especially young people, to know there is a swath of support for them,” said Katie Spencer, an O’Hara resident and member of the event planning committee.
LGBTQIA+ is a term inclusive of all genders and sexualities and their allies.
“We want to introduce the next generation to the joy that is pride.”
The picturesque park will be the backdrop for a variety of vendors situated among native plants and spacious lawns.
There will be educational booths and a Pride storywalk.
Last year’s event drew more than 350 with minimal planning, which thrilled organizers and supported their notion that the fair and its message were wanted, Spencer said.
A highlight this year will be the return of Drag Queen Story Time with Akasha L Van-Cartier, which is sure to be a draw. Scheduled for 5:45 p.m., the activity is sponsored by Spark Books in Aspinwall.
Other groups from across the Fox Chapel area will be represented too.
Artists from Sharpsburg’s Ketchup City Creative will lead a hands-on painting exercise. Rainbow crafts will be sponsored by Cooper-Siegel Community Library in Fox Chapel.
DJ coco bee will spin tunes. Food trucks will be available.
A poetry reading at 7 p.m. will round out the evening.
A free clothing swap, meant to be an identity-affirming activity, is planned for middle and high school students. Used clothing in excellent condition will be collected in advance of the event and displayed so that teens can shop for what makes them feel comfortable.
Sarah Shaffer, president of Aspinwall Neighbors, a nonprofit that is co-hosting the Pride festival, said the clothes and accessories will be arranged by type and size with no gender labels.
Shaffer is helping to coordinate the event for all ages after being inspired by a conversation with her own child last year.
“A member of the LGBTQ community, they wondered who else was in their community and if their school would do anything to celebrate Pride month,” Shaffer said. “I wanted to create a space where members of the LGBTQIA+ within the Fox Chapel Area could connect with each other and also know that they were welcomed and supported by allies within the community.
“Representation and visible support is incredibly important, especially for LGBTQ youth.”