John Colburn, left, James Moorhead and Sparky Lindsey repaint the colors of the rainbow LGBT pride flag on wooden steps on a recent Saturday in Hallowell’s Granite City Park. They were sprucing up the paint job to prepare for the annual Pride celebration that begins at noon on June 4. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

HALLOWELL — One of Maine’s first LGBTQ Pride celebrations of the year will take place this weekend in Hallowell.

The two-day event put on by the Hallowell Pride Alliance will include a festival with live music, craft vendors and nonprofits that offer support services, educational and advocacy opportunities for the LGBTQ community, as well as a parade, outdoor drag show and a dance party.

The activities are scheduled to kick off with a four-hour festival at Granite City Park at noon on June 4, the first weekend of Pride month.

The central Maine celebration is among more than 20 Pride events planned across the state this year. Pride celebrations are held across the country in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969, which took place after a police raid on a popular gay bar in New York City and catalyzed the LGBTQ rights movement.

This year’s theme in Hallowell is “Love Will Keep Us Together.”

Hallowell Pride Alliance board member James Moorhead said the theme “emphasizes the power of love to unite us despite all the many challenges we’ve faced in recent years, and now including a pandemic, political divisiveness and war.”

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A group of people riding motorcycles or scooters was at the front of the 2021 Hallowell Pride parade on Water Street in Hallowell. This year’s parade will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Moorhead said the Saturday festival will feature live music on the bandstand, presented by both the Pride Alliance and the Ian Parker Foundation, a Hallowell-based nonprofit that supports local musicians.

Random Ideas, a punk rock band of triplet sisters Meagan, Lexi and Kinsey Johnson, will play from 12:30-2 p.m. The group has “taken their passion for music and human rights/social issues to write powerful, high energy music,” according to the band’s website, and is influenced by artists such as Alicia Keys, Joan Jett and Green Day.

Scolded Dogs, a four-piece funk band from Hallowell, will play from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

At 2 p.m., between sets, a parade will be held along Water Street, starting from Temple Street and going north about half a mile to the parking lot of NAMI, or the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The festival will also feature games, a craft market and numerous information booths where guests can learn more about LGBTQ organizations in Maine. Representatives from nonprofits such as The First Amendment Museum, EqualityMaine, MaineTransNet, OUT Maine, NAMI and the Family Violence Project will be present.

Later in the evening, the Quarry Tap Room will host an outdoor drag show from 5-8 p.m. And on Sunday, June 5, Slates will host an outdoor “Summer T-Dance Kick-off” from 4-7 p.m.

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Grand Marshall Bruce “Bruceilla” Mayo waves while marching in the 2021 Hallowell Pride parade along Water Street in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Hallowell Mayor George Lapointe said he’s looking forward to kicking off the beginning of Pride Month as a welcoming city.

“Most residents like the event and the light atmosphere, and that’s what we hope to get,” he said. “There’s lots of color, lots of music and lots of happiness. So we expect it will be a fun event.”

Sparky Lindsey paints the colors of the rainbow pride flag on wooden steps in Hallowell’s Granite City Park on a recent Saturday. Lindsey was one of several people sprucing up the paint job to prepare for the annual Pride celebration that begins at noon on June 4. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Moorhead said the planning typically begins months in advance, and that the eight-member board will collaborate with more than 20 organizations and businesses this year.

“We are a small Pride organization,” he said, “but there is a lot that goes into planning and organizing this year’s festival and parade, including anything from applying for required permits from the city of Hallowell, working with our fabulous drag performers, recruiting vendors and parade entries, securing insurance, promoting and marketing the event online.”

On May 25, the Hallowell Pride Alliance announced that the festival was full with 28 organizations and vendors participating.

Tara Kierstead will be the 2022 Grand Marshal for the 2022 Hallowell Pride Festival and Parade. Kierstead is a counselor at Hall-Dale Middle & High School, and has received multiple awards, including Maine School Counselor of the Year in 2019 and Maine LGBTQA Youth Educator of the Year in 2018.

“She is an excellent day-to-day school counselor, providing much needed social and emotional support and education to all of her students,” Moorhead said, “and has made a career out of providing support to her LGBTQ+ students at Hall-Dale, districtwide, throughout Maine, and even nationwide.”

Anyone interested in signing up for the parade or learning more about the event can reach out to the Hallowell Pride Alliance at [email protected].

Other Pride events will take place later in June, including parades and celebrations in Brunswick on June 10, Lewiston-Auburn on June 11, Portland on June 18 and Bangor on June 25. The Belfast Pride Parade, which kicks off at 11 a.m. on June 4, will be the first of the month.


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