Phoenix pride festival celebrates 40th anniversary

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The Phoenix Pride Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary this weekend. It’s a 2-day event at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. We spoke to Phoenix Pride Spokesman Jeremy Helfgot about what’s on tap at this year’s festival.

“This weekend is going to be exciting, it’s going to be dynamic but it’s also our return to a two and a half year absence which for the LGBTQ community is significant,” Helfgot said. “Pride is much more than just a concert, a parade, or a festival, for a lot of members in our community it is really the touchstone landing of their identity.”

In Arizona, to this point, there are no statewide protections for members of the LGBTQ community like housing and public accommodations. This weekend is seen as a safe space for people who identify to be themselves and as Helfgot put it: “express their identity.”

“This is a significant moment both personally but also collectively for the community,” Helfgot said. “But we have to be far, it’s also a celebration of 40 years of fortitude so we’re looking back at the history, accomplishments we’ve made and rights, equality, and equity while also looking into the future because there’s still a lot of work to be done in that area.”

Phoenix Pride gave the community upwards of $1 million in the form of grants to local LGBTQ supported programs such as given to students toward scholarships and other organizations that support the community.

Helfgot said that the festival is expected to draw more than 50,000 over the two-day event. There will be six stages of entertainment throughout with different booths including COVID-19 testing and vaccine booths.

“There’s a lot of opportunities to reach a diverse crowd and we’re so excited to have many  of our partner organizations from within the LGBTQ community join us to engage with our community, our allies, and also having the opportunity to be exposed to a different part of the community.”

Jeremy Helfgot, Phoenix Pride Spokesman

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