Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton mayors join for 30th Lehigh Valley Pride event video
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The mayors of the Lehigh Valley's three cities gathered on the SteelStacks campus Thursday to prepare for the upcoming 30th anniversary of Lehigh Valley Pride.
Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk, Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds and Sal Panto Jr. joined to record a video that will air during the opening ceremonies of the festival on Aug. 20 at SteelStacks.
"Hello, Lehigh Valley Happy Pride," Reynolds said to the camera. "We want to welcome you to Lehigh Valley Pride, our region's largest Pride festival."
- Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk, Mayor J. William Reynolds and Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. joined officials from the Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center to film a video for the upcoming Lehigh Valley Pride event
- The video will be aired during the event's opening ceremonies
- Lehigh Valley Pride's 30th annual event will be from 2-8:30 p.m. Aug. 20 on Bethlehem's SteelStacks campus
Reynolds and the other local leaders present Thursday said it was important for the three cities to come together to show support.
"I think at this point in 2023, where you see a lot of regions and a lot of areas that aren't having Pride festivals, that are running in the other direction, that it's really important thing for the three cities to come together in the region to come together to be like, that's not what the Lehigh Valley is."Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds
"I think at this point in 2023, where you see a lot of regions and a lot of areas that aren't having Pride festivals, that are running in the other direction, that it's really important thing for the three cities to come together in the region to come together to be like, that's not what the Lehigh Valley is," Reynolds said.
'All people are created equal'
Tuerk, talking with others at the filming, said Lehigh Valley Pride is an event that shows the friendliness of the region — and that it's important the three cities come together to show that.
"I think one of the things ... that's attractive to people like myself, who didn't grow up here, is just how welcoming the Lehigh Valley is," Tuerk said. "And this is an expression of that welcome, and I'm looking forward to always being here for it. "
Panto said, "I come from the background where all people are created equal. That's what we read in the Declaration of Independence in Easton, and I really feel that who you love should be up to you — not up to any governmental standard, or ethic, or any societal ethic."
The annual event is put on by the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.
“We're not the same organization that we were at Pride last year. And I think folks are really going to be able to see that.”Bradley Sullivan Communications Coordinator Braden Hudak
In past years, the event took place at the Jewish Community Center in Allentown and was met with an entry fee. This year's event will be free to all.
Elizabeth Keiser, Senior Communications & Marketing Manager at Bradbury Sullivan, believes it removes a barrier to the event.
"I think it's like about being more inclusive and more serving to the entire Lehigh Valley," Keiser said. "We'll be able to have way more people here."
Keiser thinks having public support for officials like the three mayors elevates the event.
"I think it makes it more impactful," Keiser said.
Reynolds said Bethlehem is proud to now be part of the event, and said the event will be a shared experience for the whole region.
Bradbury Sullivan Communications Coordinator Braden Hudak said community feedback and new leadershippushed the center to make the change and have it be a free event.
“We're not the same organization that we were at Pride last year," Hudak said. "And I think folks are really going to be able to see that.”
Lehigh Valley Pride will be from 2-8:30 p.m. Aug. 20 and feature vendors, live music, dance floors and more.