Old friends, new faces and newlyweds at Noho Pride: Celebrating the 38th year 

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  • Shienne Daniels, left, and Victoria Halsted of Adams kiss after being married by Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz following the 38th annual Northampton Pride march to the Three County Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Victoria Quine, center, shoots bubbles over the crowd as she and her fellow Show Circus stilt walkers, in a rainbow of colors, welcome the 38th annual Northampton Pride parade to the Three County Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 4, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Kathy Service, with the Highland Valley Elder Services contingent, tosses candy to children along the 38th annual Northampton Pride parade route on Saturday, May 4, 2019. From left are Cadence Ericson, 9, Ardis Drysdale, 8, Jailin Ericson, 8, Wyatt Drysdale, 7, Becket Drysdale, 8, and Owen Drysdale, 11, all of Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Shienne Daniels, left, and Victoria Halsted of Adams kiss after being married by Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz At the Three County Fairgrounds on Northampton's 38th annual Pride Day on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Citing environmental reasons, the multicolored rainbow of helium balloons that traditionally fronts the Northampton Pride parade was rendered this year on cardboard. Photographed during the 38th annual event on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Charles Aenlle, left, and Brent Hill, both of Northampton, watch the Expandable Brass Band march toward the Three County Fairgrounds during Northampton's 38th annual Pride parade on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Spectator Jailin Ericson, center, 8, of Westhampton delivers a flying kick to a punching bag held by Adriana Gahagan of Leverett, marching with the Spirit of the Heart Martial Arts and Wellness contingent in Northampton’s 38th annual Pride parade on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, left, and city councilors march down Main Street in Northampton's 38th annual Pride parade on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Liz Pinard of Easthampton rode her bicycle to the rail trail bridge over Main Street in Northampton to view the city's 38th annual Pride parade on Saturday, May 4, 2019. The city of Easthampton had its own contingent in the parade for the first time this year. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A view from the rail trail bridge of marchers coming down Main Street in Northampton's 38th annual Pride parade on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Chris Mattson of Colrain pulls a bubble machine up Bridge Street in Northampton during the city's 38th annual Pride march on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Billy Park of Northampton holds his sign high while marching in Northampton's 38th annual Pride parade on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Students in the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School contingent wait to get moving again during Northampton's 38th annual Pride march to the Three County Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Shienne Daniels, left, and Victoria Halsted of Adams are married by Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz in a ceremony at the Three County Fairgrounds during Northampton's 38th annual Pride Day on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hors D'oeuvres was emcee for the entertainment at the Three County Fairgrounds for Northampton's 38th annual Pride Day on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Expandable Brass Band members Amanda McNamara, left, and Sandy Ward march up Bridge Street in Northampton's 38th annual Pride parade on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Parade-goers enter the Three County Fairgrounds at the end of the Northampton Pride march route on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Shienne Daniels, left, and Victoria Halsted of Adams wait in one of the arenas of the Three County Fairgrounds minutes before they took their marriage vows, with Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz presiding, on Northampton's 38th annual Pride Day on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Shienne Daniels, left, and Victoria Halsted of Adams are married by Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz in a ceremony at the Three County Fairgrounds during Northampton's 38th annual Pride Day on Saturday, May 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer 
Published: 5/4/2019 7:51:55 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Thousands of people filled the city streets on Saturday as the annual Noho Pride Day march rolled through downtown, from Old South Street to the Three County Fairgrounds. 

A sea of parade-watchers waving and wearing rainbow flags and other rainbow-colored clothing parted for parade participants and floats, representing numerous local organizations, schools, businesses and religious groups showing support for LGBTQ+ rights. The 38th annual celebration also served as a call for continued activism in the struggle for equality. 

“This is the best day of the year,” said Amherst resident Sally Chaffee, a member of the activist group the Raging Grannies. The members wore hats adorned with flowers and buttons.

Chaffee said the group sings popular tunes with their own made-up lyrics as part of their parade march, and many of the lyrics address gay pride and “the ongoing struggle for gay rights and beyond.” For example, they sang a song called “Our own identity,” about expressing one’s gender and sexuality, to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

Northampton resident Carolyn Oppenheim, another one of the Raging Grannies, said the best part of the day is hearing the cheering crowds as the group makes its way through downtown. 

“The minute they see us, they go berserk,” Oppenheim said. “I feel like I’m Queen Elizabeth. They are just so excited to see a bunch of old ladies with hats being silly.” 

Noho Pride spokesperson J.M. Sorrell estimated that around 30,000 to 40,000 people turned out for parade and pride event at the Three County Fairgrounds. She said that every year she is astounded by the growth and diversity of the visitors, parade participants and vendors. 

Lining the muddy fairgrounds on Saturday were dozens of vendors and booths, selling apparel as well as informing people about everything from ranked-choice voting to health services to counseling for LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic abuse. 

Sorrell recalled the first Pride Day in 1982 when the parade went from the Bridge Street cemetery to Pulaski Park and featured a microphone, a speaker, a stage and an information table. This year, in addition to stiltwalkers and a brass band, the event drew press, drag performers, politicians and four public speakers talking about topics such as the history of the gay rights movement and the experience of parenting a trans child.

“What I love about this event is that there is something for everyone. Everyone has their own personal experience,” Sorrell said. “Even though we are in ‘Lesbianville,’ there are still younger people coming out who are struggling with support. This is fun and a celebration, but for some people it’s a lifeline to come here and see there are other people like them.”

A wedding ceremony

Around 1 p.m., hundreds gathered around a stage at the Three County Fairgrounds in anticipation of a wedding ceremony officiated by Mayor David Narkewicz. 

Victoria Halsted and Shienne Daniels, of Adams, were preparing for their big moment in a barn next to the stage with their bridesmaids, ring bearer and family members. 

Halsted said the day was “a little surreal,” having walked earlier in the parade, and waved to friends and people she has met at past Pride Day events. 

Daniels described Saturday as “literally the best time of my life. We got out of the limo, and there were cheers — everybody was waving and throwing us beads. It was incredible.” 

The couple won a wedding giveaway from the Hadley Farms Meeting House complete with flowers, a reception at the venue, a limousine and professional photography, according to Sorrell. 

As the ceremony at the fairgrounds got underway, there were loud cheers as the couple and their bridesmaids took to the stage with Narkewicz. “You fell in love by chance,” he began the ceremony, “but you are here today because you are making a choice.” 

Narkewicz read the couple’s vows as Halsted and Daniels held hands and locked eyes, each taking turns saying “I do." 

“May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy,” Narkewicz said. “May you have love, and may you find it loving one another. I now pronounce you Mrs. and Mrs. Halsted forever, because ‘until death do you part’ is for quitters.” 

As the crowd erupted in clapping and cheering, the newlyweds sealed the ceremony with a kiss. 

After his officiating duty, Narkewicz noted that some of the first same-sex marriages to have occurred in Massachusetts took place in Northampton, and that the city has always been a leader in that regard. 

“It was a beautiful way to symbolize that,” Narkewicz said.

Prior to the wedding ceremony, Narkewicz recognized a contingent of local, state and federal representatives who attended the event, including U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, state Sen. Jo Comerford, state Reps. Mindy Domb, Lindsay Sabadosa, Natalie Blais and Dan Carey, Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, as well as several members of the City Council and School Committee. 

Legislation sponsored by Comerford recently passed the state Senate 39-1 to allow residents to choose a nonbinary gender designation of “X” on driver’s licenses and birth certificates, Narkewicz told the crowd to enthusiastic applause. 

State House lawmakers also approved legislation that would ban gay conversion therapy for minors, Narkewicz said to another round of cheering. 

Luis Fieldman can be reached at lfieldman@gazettenet.com.




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