Lebanon city streets were alive with color, joy, and acceptance this past Sunday, June 25, as the third annual Lebanon’s Got Pride event celebrated not only Pride but also Caribbean-American Heritage Month, Juneteenth, and Men’s Health Month.

Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023 was held Sunday, June 25, on South 8th Street between Cumberland and Chestnut streets. (Will Trostel)
An overall view of Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023, which was held Sunday, June 25, in Lebanon. (Will Trostel)

Stretching from West Cumberland Street to Chestnut Street on South Eighth Street, the free event ran from noon until 6 p.m., presenting a range of attractions.

Chloe and Aysis smile for a quick photo opportunity during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023, which was held on Sunday, June 25, along South 8th Street. (Will Trostel)
Attendee CC Burke displays a pride flag during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023 on Sunday, June 25, in Lebanon. (Will Trostel)
Planning Committee members Betsy Espinosa, left, and Jojo Romanoff pose for a photo op during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023. This year was the third time the event has been organized in Lebanon. (Will Trostel)

Attendees were entertained by a DJ, Zumba sessions, a fashion show, and child-friendly drag performances. An area dedicated to children featured face painting and chalk drawings among other fun activities.

Sidewalk chalk was provided throughout the event for sidewalk art to be created by attendees. (Will Trostel)
Children dance to music during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023 in Lebanon.

Prior to the event, co-organizers Ashley Santana-Speraw and Betsy Marie Espinosa stressed to LebTown the importance of breaking the stigma surrounding the drag community.

“We really just want to break the stigma that the drag community has at the moment,” said Espinoza. “Bad does exist out there within the world, but it isn’t within our community.”

The event was strategically scheduled to follow a 10:30 a.m. nondenominational service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 22 S. 6th St.

Santana-Speraw explained this choice, saying, “There are different parishes that are very accepting of people in the LGBT community. You do not need to forsake your faith because of who you love.”

Lebanon city police were also on scene to ensure the safety of everyone who came out to participate in the event.

From left to right, Rev. Mary Kisner, Diana Hyson, Carmen Gaud, and Steve Doster represent St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Lebanon during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023. Starting in the fall of 2023, St. Luke’s will be hosting quarterly LGBTQ+ meetings. (Will Trostel)

Read More: An open letter from the Rector of St. Luke’s regarding Pride

Steve Doster, center, senior warden at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Lebanon, confers with Lebanon city police officers during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023. City officers patrolled the event and provided security. (Will Trostel)

A diversity of vendors added to the celebratory atmosphere, with local favorites like Divas Have to Eat, Holey Truth Body Arts, and Cotton Candy Coven taking part. Espinosa’s 5-year-old helped to run a lemonade stand, with all profits donated to the Trevor Project.

Diva’s Have to Eat crew members, including owner Dee Sanders at center, manned a tent outside of the Lebanon Farmers Market during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023. On the menu were BBQ and fried chicken, jerk chicken, oxtails with gravy, empanadas, and more. (Will Trostel)
From left to right, Jojo Romanoff, Scott Ney, Alethia, and A’kaisha showcase the Lebanon County branch of the NAACP’s booth during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023. (Will Trostel)
The crew from Holey Truth Body Arts poses for a picture during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023. From left to right, Eric MacFaline, owner, and employees Jade Ginnetto, Madeliene Conway, and Mackenzie Meginley. (Will Trostel)
Miranda Macabre poses for a photo op outside of their tent selling various clothing articles and more. (Will Trostel)
Brandi and Jerry Earhart of Darkstorm Creative Designs LLC pause for a quick photo during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023. (Will Trostel)

In addition to the fun and festivities, the event also provided critical resources for attendees, including information on medical, housing, and mental health services.

Maggie Progin and Donna Williams with Lebanon Family Health Services provide information about LFHS service, including on-the-go healthcare that can be provided via the van behind them, during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023. (Will Trostel)

Read More:

Aaron Rinear of the LGBT Center of Reading passes out info pamphlets and items to guests during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023, held on Sunday, June 25, in Lebanon. (Will Trostel)

Businesses such as the Lebanon Valley Council on the Arts and Schaylor Brewing Co. also participated, staying open for visitors on the day of the event.

Planning Committee member Joseph “JoJo” Romanoff told LebTown that he was acknowledged during the event by Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello for an essay that he had written for the NAACP branch about Pride and enduring bullying incidents as a youth. “She really honored me and right after she joined in for the first of my two Zumba Fitness Segments,” said Romanoff.

“This is so important to me cause Mayor Sherry has a huge heart and spirit,” said Romanoff, and said that the two clicked immediately, in part over a shared love of dance.

“To me, as long there is LOVE and DANCE, anything is possible,” said Romanoff.

Romanoff said that in his role as a vice president of the NAACP branch, he wants to represent everyone that knows what it’s like to come from a place of rejection.

Romanoff shared video, recorded by Ange Burke, which you can find below.

The planning committee, including drag performer Whitley, newcomer Luis Mozena, and Scott Church, who has been part of the event since its inception, encouraged interested parties to contact them for future volunteer opportunities or for any questions at lebanonsgotpride@yahoo.com.

Event Committee members Luis Montanez and Betsy Espinosa pose for a photo during Lebanon’s Got Pride 2023. The event was held on Sunday, June 25, in Lebanon. (Will Trostel)
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Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication with additional comment from Romanoff.

William Trostel is a full-time freelance photographer/videographer based out of Lebanon City. Beginning his career as a hobbyist trying to film his friends skateboarding, his camera quickly turned into a passion. Within two years of being a hobbyist, William began to book portrait sessions and commercial...


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