Inaugural Doylestown Pride Festival - Bucks County Courier Times

06.25.2019

Full article - buckscountycouriertimes.com/doylestown-pride-festival

After years in the making Doylestown hosted its first Pride Festival this weekend. Hundreds of attendees gathered at the festival’s Saturday block party on East State Street.

Priscilla Gray-Stoll waved rainbow flags as she weaved through the crowds along colorful East State Street in Doylestown Borough on Saturday.

Gray-Stoll and her wife, who married after nearly 20 years together, were the first same sex couple to get married in their New York City church. Years later, when the couple moved to Pennsylvania, their marriage was no longer recognized.

So on Saturday, she had reason to celebrate. Gray-Stoll was among the hundreds of attendees at the inaugural Doylestown Pride Festival celebrating LGBTQ pride.

“It so fun to be able to be a part of this after feeling marginalized for so many years. I have been going to gay pride parades since the ’80s and it used to be a march for our lives. I am proud of Bucks County for finally recognizing all humans as worthy of rights and privileges,” said Gray-Stoll.

"The festival has been years in the making, according to Marlene Pray, founder and director of the Rainbow Room, based in Doylestown Borough. This festival is standing on the shoulders of decades of struggles. We started planning a year ago and just kept adding more ideas. This festival has been a wild success,” said Pray.

Doylestown has a rich history and the festival is an example of the change the town is headed toward.

“We talk about the need to be inclusive but it means nothing without evidence. This is the evidence,” said Doylestown Mayor Ron Strouse.

The Pride Festival’s Saturday block party consisted of drag queen story time, live music, food vendors and a celebration of diversity. Not only members of the LGBTQ community were present but the festival also drew supporters from all communities.

“I came here to see my friends. It is really important for everyone to feel loved and wanted,” said Lynne Anne Donchez, a festival attendee.

The festival did attract some naysayers, such as a man holding a bible who said, “I urge you to repent,” as people waving rainbow flags walked past him.

Due to the great turn out of the festival there was a heavy police presence.

“We want to keep everyone here safe. The attendees are allowed to be here just like anyone else,” said Karl Knott, chief of police for Central Bucks Regional Police Department.

The Pride Festival lasted the entire weekend and already has plans to return next year.

“We already started meetings to plan next year’s festival. The LGBTQ (community) is not always welcomed and we are going to continue to fight for their rights,” said Pray.