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Greenway Pride returns to South Bethlehem for 2nd year

Laurie Smith, with the "free mom hugs" booth.
Julian Abraham
Laurie Smith gave out "free mom hugs" at last year's Greenway Pride event

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — A pride event in South Bethlehem is back for another year.

The second annual Greenway Pride will be celebrated from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at Southside Bethlehem’s Greenway between Taylor and Adams streets.

One of the lead organizers, Maggie Riegel, said that last year’s event was put together in about a month.

"We want to make it a day where everyone can be gathered, no matter who you are."
Lead organizer Justin Torok

“Because last year's event came together so quickly, we weren't sure what to expect from the turnout, and we had such a great turnout for our first year,” Riegel said.

“If people loved it last year, we have a little bit more time this year to make it hopefully bigger and better and to build upon the work that we've already done.”

Lead organizer Justin Torok, who is also the co-owner of Phoenix Fire Media, said the event is meant to bring people together.

“In today's society, there's a lot of division amongst people and a lot of hate,” Torok said. “And we want to make it a day where everyone can be gathered, no matter who you are.”

Riegel and Torok said they expect a few hundred people to attend, depending on the weather.

What’s new?

This year’s Greenway Pride will feature performances by local drag performers Eileen O'Brennan, Chaotique Énergie and Mr. Daddy Cosplay.

Local bands Ghost Lily, Eric Van and a mystery headliner going by the name “The ‘Bob’s” will also perform, and DJ Brad Scott Smith will play music.

Last year’s event had a brief altercation that ended in a man being escorted off the premises by two bicycle patrol police officers.

This year, Riegel says organizers consulted with Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center Executive Director Ashley Coleman about how to make the event safe.

“She [Coleman] was so wonderful and helpful to guide us,” Riegel said. “This is obviously our first time doing something like this, and so she was such a great help.”

Riegel said Omega Protective Services, the same security service Bradbury-Sullivan Center uses, will be at the event.

The event also has community sponsors and vendors this year. Torok said organizers are considering making Greenway Pride a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.