By: Clara Lefton/TRT Reporter—
This past Saturday the town of Northampton, Mass. celebrated its 34th annual NoHo Pride parade, a celebration of the LGBT community. The day opened with the march beginning at noon on Hampton Avenue. The 1.1 mile route proceeded to finish on Fair Street on the Three County Fairgrounds, while the festivities continued until 5 p.m. Attendees ranged from 8-10,000 people according Captain Jody Casper of the Northampton Police Department.
Mira Atheron, a member of the 2016 class of Mount Holyoke College, said, “I found Northampton Pride to be an extremely gratifying experience. There was such a positive and supportive atmosphere, which was definitely helped by the hordes of rainbow clad toddlers. Overall, a very low-key and family friendly experience!”
Aside from the march, activities included a staging area for live entertainment. These ranged from comedian Cindy Foster, the Pioneer Valley Gay Men’s Chorus, a speech from Northampton’s Mayor David Narkewicz, and more. All events were free and open to the public as well as kid inclusive, although beer and wine was available for those over 21 years of age.
Pride attendee Lexi Glade of Scarsdale, NY said, “I was so happy to see a huge amount of community involvement with the event; many high school GSA groups and even some elementary schools participated in the parade march. It was also so nice to see so many families and people of all stages of life participating and having fun. It was more crowded than I expected, but the it was planned well.”
More than 100 vendor booths appeared in a variety of subject matter from arts, food, clothes to health education and information. Furthermore these included political candidates, retailers, various causes and for-profit, as well as non-profit businesses. [pullquote]More than 100 vendor booths appeared in a variety of subject matter from arts, food, clothes to health education and information. Furthermore these included political candidates, retailers, various causes and for-profit, as well as non-profit businesses. Attendees ranged from 8-10,000 people according Captain Jody Casper of the Northampton Police Department.[/pullquote]
“I had a great time at Pride! Other years I’ve been a spectator and this year it was awesome to be there representing an organization that I volunteer with and whose mission I so strongly identify with,” said Hannah Howard, a volunteer with Safe Passage. “As a queer survivor of intimate partner violence (IPV), I thought it was really important to represent Safe Passage at the event, to provide resources for the queer community, and to get people talking about IPV in our community and how we can engage in healthy and safe relationships.”
A further endeavor of the non-profit is to announce an LGBT academic scholarship to a High School senior that will dedicate themselves to being, “a positive role model in the LGBT community,” as is listed in the online application. This year’s scholarship deadline is May 31. The opportunity to apply is open to those within a few of the local counties in western Massachusetts. To apply for the scholarship visit: http://tiny.cc/uk9txx.
The non-profit organization that currently runs the one-day extravaganza is NoHo Pride, Inc. Although initially the Pride march came about in 1982, known then as Northampton Pride (pages 1-3), without any sponsors or non-profit organization status–it was rather as an organic collection of people fighting for LGBT rights.
Director and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Noho Pride, Inc., Bear White, said, “I personally start mentally preparing for next year right after our appreciation party for all our volunteers, which is within a month. The appreciation party is a very important part of pride. Our volunteers work so hard and it is always my greatest pleasure to highlight and acknowledge their commitment. Noho Pride is accomplished every year with less than 10 core volunteers but many more the day of the event.”
For more information about Noho Pride visit www.nohopride.org.