By Annette Cinelli

Worcester Pride Association, an organization that has been active in Worcester for over 30 years, will hold their 6th Annual Block Party event in September and WPA co-chairs Sean Fitzpatrick and Maria DePasquale are excited about this fun-filled weekend. Fitzpatrick notes that for a long time Worcester Pride was “just about gay men” and it was when DePasquale echoed those same sentiments that he suggested she join him as co-chair person. The focus has shifted over the years and now it is centered on the entire GLBT community. In fact, the theme of this year’s Worcester Pride Weekend is just that ~ community.

WPA has expanded the event with the hopes to attract people from all walks of life. With an attendance of nearly 3,000 people last year, people are certainly taking interest!

The weekend promises to be a huge success. It will start on Wednesday, September 10th with a business networking meet and greet and run through Sunday the 14th with a variety of activities. The fun continues on Thursday at the MB Lounge with the flag raising, a new ceremony that officially kicks off the festivities. It’s a great chance to talk with people, hang out and gear up for some fun.

The party gets started Friday at Blu Ultralounge and Night Club.

“It was a great success last year,” said proprietor Tim Desantis. He hopes to maintain that success this year. Stop by to have a drink, chat with some old friends, make some new ones.

Saturday brings the Beer Garden opening at noon. Tents will be set up and they will be selling liquor as well as beer. The event is sponsored by Consolidated Beverage and is always a big hit. Dan the Hot Dog Man, whom you may know from your Friday and Saturday late night strolls on Water Street, will be working the event.

There will be family events including trampolines, face painting and maybe even a clown or two!

Before you have too many drinks at the Beer Garden, be sure to swing by the business expo from 2 p.m. ‘til 6 p.m. with non-profit organizations as well as local businesses. Some businesses you will see there are Wings Over Worcester and Sovereign Bank. The non-profit organizations that will be in attendance include Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders of Boston, Mass Equality of Boston, Elderly Services of Worcester, YWCA of Worcester; Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Unitarian-Universalist Church of Worcester, Gay Men Domestic Violence Project of Cambridge, Safe Home of Worcester, North Star Church, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and AIDS Project Worcester. The WPA hopes that events like this will help rebuild the Central Massachusetts Business Council.

Providing their MC skills for Saturday’s events will be Al Capone’s grandson Chris W. Knight, the author of Son of Scarface, and local drag talent Miss Crystal. There’s also a fashion show with local boutiques including Tush. Later in the day, State Representatives and City Councilors as well as State Senator Harriette Chandler will be speaking. Blu will be open from noon on and there will be no cover charge before 7 p.m. The dance party will start at 6 p.m. and continue ‘til close (2 a.m.).

Things start to wind down on Sunday with a drag brunch at 86 Winter Street, which is always a ball. There will also be a pianist at the MB Ultralounge at night.

Local residents are really looking forward to the Worcester Pride Weekend. Jessie Pack, who will be attending the weekend celebration, thinks the whole weekend is about “community, connection, support and celebration.”

“It’s also a time for the whole community, not just gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender, but the whole community, to network and meet each other and learn more about the GLBT community,” he said.

For more information on this and other GLBT events, visit www.worcesterpride.net.