The Return of a Queer Pittsburgh Tradition

The revival of the Bigger Gayer Picnic is Sunday, May 26

Since the mid-’70s, Pittsburgh played host to an annual tradition that brought the LGBTQ+ community together under the sun: the legendary Big Gay Picnic. Running for 43 years, this event was the precursor to the meteoric rise of Pittsburgh Pride events in the early 2000s, carving out a space for queer joy, resistance, and togetherness before taking a hiatus after 2019.

Fast forward through a global pandemic and a world that feels forever changed, and we’re on the cusp of something exhilarating—a rebirth of this cherished gathering, now reimagined as the Bigger, Gayer Picnic. This Memorial Day Weekend, on Sunday, May 26, Allegheny Commons Park West will transform from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm into a kaleidoscope of queer celebration.

Timothy Ryan, one of the organizers of this year’s picnic, captures the essence of this revival: “The picnic was always more than just an event; it was a moment of unity for the community as we launched into Pride season. Its absence starting in 2020 left a void in our collective hearts, but we’re coming back stronger, louder, and gayer than ever.”

And what’s a queer celebration without a drag extravaganza? Prepare to be dazzled with performances by the incomparable Georgia Bea Cummings, Akasha L. Van-Cartier’s legendary elegance, the mesmerizing Judas Elliot, Mykul Jay Valentine’s breathtaking artistry, Luna L. Creme’s enchanting allure, and more. Showtimes are set to sizzle at 3pm and 4pm.

As we count down the days to the Bigger, Gayer Picnic, let’s remember the power of coming together, of reclaiming our spaces, and of celebrating the diversity and resilience of our community. This isn’t just a picnic; it’s a testament to our enduring spirit and a prelude to the most vibrant Pride season Pittsburgh has ever seen.

So, mark your calendars, spread the word, and let’s kick off this Pride season with a bang, surrounded by our chosen family, in a celebration of love, liberation, and the undeniable joy of being queer.

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