Franklin County Pride celebration this Saturday


For the Gazette

Published: 06-22-2017 10:56 PM

GREENFIELD — With goals of promoting unity and togetherness, volunteers have organized Franklin County Pride, a burgeoning gay pride event to be held downtown on Saturday.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. with a march from Greenfield Middle School on Federal Street to the Energy Park at 50 Miles St. A pride rally will follow at the park from 2-4 p.m., featuring inspirational speakers, community leaders, singers, songwriters, spoken word artists and local bands.

Patty Morey Walker, former Greenfield mayoral candidate and one of the scheduled speakers, said the event has taken off, filling the community with enthusiasm.

“There’s so much excitement about it in the community, on social media,” she said. “There’s just excitement in the air.”

As a speaker, Morey Walker said she hopes to uplift attendees’ spirits, make them feel empowered and inspire them to community involvement, while seeing people come together across political and social divides.

“This town is very much like the country, we’re very divided,” she said. “There’s a conservative side and a progressive side … I would love it to be that both sides came to Pride, so we can have us be together and celebrate … If that happens, I’ll be thrilled.”

Elizabeth Bridgewater of Greenfield, one of the event’s organizers, previously explained that as marchers walk into the park, they’ll be greeted by Offbeat Womyn’s Drumming Ensemble. She said speakers and entertainers during the rally represent the many different faces of the community.

Those planning to speak or entertain the crowd include At-Large Town Councilor Karen “Rudy” Renaud; the Rev. Marguerite Sheehan of Trinity Church in Shelburne Falls; The Sad Bastards, an all-queer sad song country cover band; Dr. Kathryn Rohr, a transgender orthopedic surgeon who transitioned at age 67; a belly dance group and others.

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Students from Generation Q, an educational, social and support group run by Community Action for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth and straight allies, will present on stage, Bridgewater has said.

“We are excited to come together and celebrate our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer community in Franklin County,” Pam Parmakian, one of the core volunteers coordinating the event, said in a statement. “Pride events are so inspiring because you get to experience the diversity of our community.”