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Pride parade in Northampton on Saturday to celebrate LGBTQ community

  • Amy Reesman of Southampton during the Pride Parade in Northampton during the 2017 NoHo Pride Parade. This year’s event kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO



For the Gazette
Wednesday, May 02, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Organizers are expecting roughly 40,000 people to flow through the streets of downtown Northampton Saturday for the 37th annual Northampton Pride Parade.

The LGBTQ celebration will begin at 11 a.m. along Hampden Avenue and concludes at the Three County Fairgrounds at roughly 12:30 p.m., where there will be music, entertainment and other activities throughout the rest of the afternoon.

The parade is organized by NoHo Pride, a nonprofit organization that seeks to foster events that honor the integrity, history and diversity of the LGBTQ community and to focus on education, awareness, and unity among communities with that share the same vision.

Northampton held the first pride march in the area in 1982, despite “overwhelmingly homophobic and discriminatory realities facing LGBTQ people” at the time, according to NoHo Pride’s website.

Since then, the parade has evolved “from people marching with bags on their heads” to an open, diverse and large-scale celebration of the LGBTQ community.

This year’s parade will start an hour earlier than in years past because NoHo Pride booked too many entertainers to perform at the Three County Fairgrounds, spokesperson J.M. Sorrell said.

“It’s a good problem to have, plus I think the police will appreciate us getting through town earlier,” Sorrell said.

The theme of this year’s parade is “unbreakable: spirit, voice, passion, commitment, strength, pride.”

This year’s entertainers will include Kit Yan, a New York spoken word poet; Pamela Means, a musician and activist; and the Great Repression, a punk band, among many others.

There will also be many food vendors set up at the fairgrounds.

Keeping with a long-standing tradition, Mayor David Narkewicz will read a proclamation in support of the LGBTQ community in the city. This year, though, he and the crowd will be joined via Skype by the mayor of Northampton, England, which will host its first citywide LGBTQ Saturday.

A “Celebrate Diversity” after-party will take place at Club V in Florence beginning at 6 p.m., and will feature multiple drag performances and other entertainment. All proceeds will go toward the 2019 Pride parade.

It costs NoHo Pride about $60,000 each year to organize the parade and festivities, according to a press release. Participants can support the event either by donating online or contributing to buckets that will be passed around at the parade.