Milwaukee, WI —
's 25th anniversary event broke prior revenue records and increased attendance by 10 percent over 2011, its organizers reported. A total of 28,137 people attended the annual Pride festival, one of the nation's largest.
The organization faced serious challenges this year, including a significant budget shortfall incurred by the 2011 festival and the last-minute defections of some key volunteer staffers.
The community's response to requests for donations and volunteers played a key role in making this year's event a success. More than 400 individuals volunteered their time and a new membership program dubbed "the Proud Crowd" raised over $5,000 in donations.
"We cannot say enough about the special people who reached a little deeper into their pockets and gave more of themselves this year to make sure PrideFest happened," said PrideFest president Scott Gunkel.
Warm, sunny weather and a strong entertainment line-up that included Belinda Carlisle, Taylor Dane, GOD-DES & She and Berlin, featuring Terri Nunn, helped propel the event to success.
"For PrideFest to survive another year, we really needed to meet attendance and revenue targets," said PrideFest president Scott Gunkel. "I am proud to say that we, as a community, exceeded both goals. We actually generated more revenue than any other PrideFest in our 25-year history."
At the opening ceremonies on Friday, June 8, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett officially dedicated the weekend as PrideFest throughout the city of Milwaukee.
"You should be proud of everything that you have done. I am very, very proud," Barrett said. "Milwaukee is a city that embraces diversity of all types. An open city where people respect each other for who they are. I think that is one of the great strengths of this community, and I can be proud of our city because of that."
PrideFest now directs its focus to strategic planning for 2013. People interested in becoming sponsors of next year's festival should contact Gunkel at 414-272- 3378.
Written by Louis Weisberg