Delaware Pride festival set for Saturday in Dover

 

DOVER — In her first year as vice president of Delaware Pride on the cusp of the group’s 20th anniversary festival in Dover this weekend, Teresa Liberato looks forward to seeing the volunteers show up Saturday morning.

“It’s going to be mayhem, but it won’t look like it,” she said laughing.

The free event for all ages will feature 80 vendors, including five selling food, and entertainment throughout the day. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Legislative Mall, where it was moved to in 2013 after then-Gov. Jack Markell signed the landmark marriage equality bill, legalizing same-sex marriages in Delaware.

Although it’s her first year as vice president, the Claymont resident said she’s been involved in the organization for a half-dozen years and has attended Pride festivals since the beginning.

“That day is just set aside to celebrate — no matter who you are — everyone’s invited,” she said.

“We also have a lot of entertainment this year,” she said, including the popular Manhattan Prairie Dogs, the official country line dancing team of the Big Apple Ranch.

“Everyone loves them,” she said. “They keep the crowd entertained.”

The lineup also features The Girlfriends, Bettenroo, Jani and Hoochi Coochi and previous title holders of the Pride pageant.

Until the law’s passage, the Pride festival was held for many years in Rehoboth and Wilmington, but many attendees complained of the commute from one end of the state to the other.

“You know what, let’s just take the middle county. Where else better to hold it than where they make the laws,” she said. The Pride festival that year “was a big year.”

As someone who came out as a teenager, nearly 40 years ago, Ms. Liberato appreciates the changes society has made in accepting the LGBTQ community.

“I’ve been out since ’79,” she said. “I came out after high school and now … they’re in elementary school coming out as transgender. It’s more accepting for kids to be able to be themselves. They’re always going to be haters. You just have to look past that.

“I’ve met a lot of young kids today through Delaware Pride and their parents who support them no matter what they do and that’s a good thing.”

Ms. Liberato is involved in the teen group at the Dover Public Library, where she has been able to interact with teenagers and college students who are open and accepting of diversity.

After the festival on the mall Saturday, the Dover library at 6 p.m. will show the documentary, “Before Stonewall: the Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community.” Guest speaker Nancy Maihoff of the Barbara Gittings Stonewall Group will lead and moderate a discussion following the film.

The festival Saturday is just part of what Delaware Pride does as an organization to raise awareness and promote education of the LGBTQ community. It also promotes community service to other organizations, such as the Food Bank of Delaware.

“It’s a good organization. We like giving back to the community,” Ms. Liberato said.

For information on the Delaware Pride festival, visit delawarepride.org.

Ashley Dawson is managing editor of the Delaware State News. Email adawson@newszap.com.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.