Buffalo Pride Week Highlights a Month of Activities, Community and Homecomings | Entertainment

Rhiannon Browning

Homecoming seems like an apt word for summer 2022 and Buffalo Pride Week organizers own that idea. After being virtual for the past two years, Pride Week has returned to in-person events.

“Pride has been held virtually and at home for the past two years, and so a safe return to public events is a much-awaited ‘homecoming’ for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Kelly Craig, Executive Director from the Pride Center of Western New York.

“A return to basics symbolizes bringing people together. A reunion, of sorts, and a way for people to come ‘home’ to a place where they feel comfortable, accepted and celebrated,” she said.

Presented by Evergreen Health and M&T Bank, Pride Week kicked off with the LGBTQ+ Flag Raising Ceremony on May 31 in Niagara Square and leads to the Pride Parade and Pride Festival on June 5, with activities continuing until June.

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“The Pride Parade and the Pride Festival are by far two of the biggest events of Pride Week. Every year these events take place, hundreds of people march in our parade,” Craig said.

But before the Sunday extravaganza, there will be at least five events a day, including two month-long activities, the virtual Pride 5k and Shopping with Pride. Other events include the Flex Party at 8 p.m. June 3, the annual Varsity Gay League Charity Cornhole Tournament at 1 p.m. June 4, and a free Jack Rabbit Dance Party on June 4 that focuses on the Black and Latino community of Pride.

Craig encourages anyone who’s been through a tough time over the past two years, whether it’s coming out, mental health or feeling lonely, to take advantage of the multitude of activities planned.

“Each year, Pride Month and Pride Week are opportunities to find strength through love, inclusiveness and unity. These three things have been especially needed during the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19,” Craig said.

The full schedule, how to buy tickets and more can be found online at buffaloprideweek.com. Here are some highlights.

“Mom Grindr,” From June 2 to 5 at the Alleyway Cabaret. Plum Stab Productions presents this solo show starring Caitlin Coleman as a mother torn between having a gay child and following Mormon church rules. Written by Ronnie Larson, the play takes intense subject matter and turns it into a kind of comic relief.

Mobile art installation and performance “Camp Everything”, designed by artist Adam Weekley, will debut at the Pride Parade on June 5.

Courtesy of Burchfield Penney

pride parade, begins at 11 a.m. June 5 from Elmwood and Forest avenues; ending around 1 p.m. in Allentown. Look for “Camp Everything,” a new mobile art installation and performance created by artist Adam Weekley that was inspired by children’s shows by Jim Henson and Mr. Rogers that “taught the radical power of kindness, diversity and acceptances”. The Torn Space Theater picked the performers and helped bring the show to life. The Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Cullen Foundation also played a role in the making of “Camp Everything”.

Pride Day, 1-7 p.m. June 5 at Canalside. Food, drinks, vendors, musical performances and entertainment, including “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Kornbread Jete. Tickets are $10 in advance, $20 at the door.

Virtual WNY Pride 5k, June 1-30. As this is a virtual event, there is no exact location for this event, just anywhere you walk, even your treadmill. Registration is $45. Once registered, you will receive a T-shirt, a bib and a medal.

WNY Shopping with pride, June 1-30. A guide on the Pride Week website lists LGBTQ+-owned businesses. According to the website, Shopping with Pride “is an incredible opportunity to showcase your business, encourage people to shop local, and support one of WNY’s most active LGBTQ+ community service organizations, Niagara Pride.” .

Niagara Falls Family Pride Day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 25 at Niagara Pride offices, 120 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls. There will be lawn games, local vendors and more for family fun.

The Original Buffalo Brunch, noon-3 p.m. June 26 at Tappo Pizza and Thin Man Brewery, 166 Chandler St. Hosted by Keke Valasquez-Lord. General admission is $10 presale, $15 at the door; VIP is $65 presale, $75 at the door.

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