By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pride Month kicked off Wednesday and around the country, Pride flags are being raised to support and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.

Philadelphia is kicking off its Pride Month as well, and the month-long celebration began Wednesday as did summer-long Sips.

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Sips is like a citywide happy hour. Things are slowly picking up at the Uptown Beer Garden. Sips is put on by the Center City District to get workers to spend some time in the city after their workday.

This is the first Sips in two years because of the pandemic, and Pride is also back after a two-year hiatus.

“There’s nothing like celebrating in person and I know so many members of the community are looking forward to finally gathering face to face,” said Robert Drake.

On this day, Pride Month has officially kicked off in Philadelphia. Hundreds of events are planned in one of the country’s oldest and largest Pride celebrations.

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“This is an opportunity to come back to explore to learn about what our city offers for our Pride Month,” said Sheila Hess, a Philadelphia city representative. “All the events in the region and state.”

Wednesday’s kickoff took place at the Sofitel Hotel in Rittenhouse Square. Events there include a weekly drag brunch hosted by Brittany Lynn. The shows benefit the William Way LGBT Community Center.

“We are the best LGBT community in the whole country and I say that with pride,” said Christopher Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Community Center.

While there are hundreds of events planned, it’s reminded that Pride is more than a party.

“I always tell people every June is an opportunity to pull into the virtual gas station and refuel your inner being,” Drake said, “so that when you go back into the world, you have the community behind you with your support.”

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Pride weekend is coming up this weekend. It kicks off with a flag-raising on Friday at City Hall and a march and festival on Sunday. Sips events happen all summer on Wednesdays after work.