Where it rains, there is always a rainbow.
Rain or shine, the festival at Heritage Port beamed with pride as community members came from all over, like Ohio Valley Pride Ambassador Jennifer Jonessale for the 5e annual party.
“I just had to get involved. It was such an amazing city, and it was such an amazing program, and it was such an amazing Pride Parade that even though I’m from Morgantown, Va. -Western, I had to come here and I come here every year.”
Jennifer Jonessale – Vice President of Ohio Valley Pride
In addition to spending time among the many vendors, food and drink, everyone was invited to march together in a Pride Parade that passed through the streets of Wheeling, as a way that Ciera Slater says has brought this community together.
“Well, it’s kind of cool because it’s a non-judgmental place… And then you see people complimenting you on your looks, your outfits, stuff like that. It’s really cool.”
Ciera Slater – New Martinsville, West Virginia
It’s fun to look at the flags, shirts, hats and stickers, but Aaron Ashley of the Central Outreach Wellness Center also highlights the need to promote health services in the LGBTQ+ community.
“Some people say Pride is over in June, but we’re in it because it’s everyday. And, you know, we’re just keeping the mission going and keeping it alive to celebrate our heritage, and for us, to bring health care to the community is just an added bonus.
Aaron Ashley – Administrative Support for the Central Outreach Wellness Center
The sense of community and pride here in Wheeling is hugely important, and Ohio Valley Pride President Jack Carbasho said it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the city itself.
“I think it’s a really great thing to be able to organize something like this in our own community. I mean, yeah, you have nearby cities — Pittsburgh, Columbus — that have events like this. But being able to do something here in Wheeling, West Virginia is a great thing, and the city’s support helps make it so much easier.
Jack Carbasho – President of the Ohio Valley Pride
They continue the festivities until Sunday, July 24, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.