HALLOWELL — Rainbow flags marked the driveway into Granite City Park, and Brian Kaufman donned a rainbow flag under his fur vest and put a horned Viking helmet — with long blonde braids — on his head.

He was out to attract attention for his booth Saturday afternoon, which was part of the three-day Hallowell LGBTQ Pride festival. The celebration was held in conjunction with LGBTQ Pride. Those letters stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning.

Kaufman was promoting his Viking-themed “Rainbow Quest!” board game, which is billed as “the essential new LBGT board game for several school’s GSA (Gay Straight Alliance), family game nights, & diversity trainings.”

Kaufman developed it with Martin Swinger, and Kaufman was taking pre-orders and looking for crowd-funding of $30,000 to get it manufactured.

“It celebrates LGBT icons and heroes,” he said, adding that when he was younger, he had to go to the library to find those heroes.

“Ideally, I want people to know this resource exists.”

More information on the game is available on the web at www.rainbowquest.net/ and on Facebook at RainbowQuestgame.

On Sunday, Kaufman, of Augusta, planned to be in New York City for the NYC Pride March, and when Kaufman’s not promoting his game or traveling, he is at the University of Maine at Farmington where he is an associate professor of psychology.

In the adjacent, albeit somewhat less decorated booth, Kendra Finnegan, district youth coordinator for Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, hoped to spur youths’ interest in a summer program that would empower them “to use their voices to become activists.”

She was at the Hallowell Pride festival in particular, she said, because she wants to help support LGBT students and to reduce the disparities between non-LGBT and LGBT students as reflected in the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey 2017. Responses from that survey report that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth were more likely to smoke cigarettes and use marijuana and alcohol and drugs than their counterparts and that they were more likely to be sad or hopeless and to consider suicide.

Finnegan said teens interested in the four-week summer program, which offers some stipends, can find applications on the organization’s Facebook page at “hccame.”

 

Brian Kaufman wears a rainbow flag Saturday as part of Hallowell LGBTQ Pride festivities. Kaufman, of Augusta, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Maine at Farmington, staffs a table promoting a board game he developed to initiate conversations concerning gay issues. Photo by Elise Klysa

Chris Vallee, one of four organizers of Hallowell’s Pride celebration, pronounced Friday night’s kick-off activities “awesome — all the bars were basically slammed.”

Speaking at the Quarry Tap Room, one of his businesses in Hallowell, he predicted, “Next year it will be quadruple — organizers, activities and visibility.”

He said it took this year’s organizers four months to arrange the city’s pride fest. “We’re just trying to do activities to help downtown during the construction,” Vallee said. “We’ve been talking about doing a Hallowell Pride festival for at least a dozen years.”

Water Street is undergoing major reconstruction and traffic is currently restricted to one way northbound. Cyclone fencing that separates businesses and pedestrians from the passing traffic displayed a number of festival-related banners.

The festival was to close Sunday morning with a “Rainbow Meet Up Brunch” 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Slates Restaurant and a Bloody Mary Hangover Dance Party 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Quarry Tap Room.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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