HALLOWELL — There was gaiety, music, dancing and dining Saturday as hundreds flocked to downtown Hallowell and the Kennebec Riverfront to celebrate Hallowell Pride 2024.

People of all ages packed the sidewalks on Water Street for a parade, which included lots of colorful flags, fire trucks, police and a woman pedaling a bicycle and hauling a miniature camper in keeping with this year’s event theme, “Upta Camp.”

“Happy Pride everyone!” Rebecca Singer of the band Supercat shouted out to audiences who gathered at Granite City Park before the parade to hear her belt out popular tunes from the Warren Heald Bandstand.

The temperature rose into the 80s but there was a comfortable breeze off the river as people perused the vendor tents lined up near the boardwalk.

Vendors included Disability Rights Maine, Maine’s Impact Cancer Network, Kennebec County Youth Advisory Group’s Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, Queerly Maine and VA Maine Health Care System. Several vendors, including Emerald City of Portland, sold jewelry, clothing and other items.

Brandon Ouellette and Larry Howe, of Emerald City, which is owned by Danny Hatt, said they returned to Hallowell again this year as it is such a happy and friendly place and this time the weather cooperated. Last year, it was cold and wet, they said.


Brandon Ouellette and Larry Hower of Emerald City in Portland sell jewelry and other items Saturday at a booth on the Kennebec Riverfront in Hallowell as part of Hallowell Pride 2024. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

“We love it here,” Ouellette said.

June is Pride month across the U.S. and it commemorates the Stonewall uprising in 1969 where on June 28 that year, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village — and not for the first time. But on that date, patrons fought back and in the days that followed, protests persisted. The protests are considered a tipping point in the early fight for LGBTQ rights.

Sitting Saturday on an orange Adirondack chair on the boardwalk by the river, Nicole Washington-Pare, 35, said she had a perfect view of the water and could hear the music from up in the park.

“We come every year,” she said. “I like it because it’s big enough that you can feel the sense of people being proud of who we are, but it’s not so big that it’s overwhelming and you don’t feel like you’re going to get lost in a sea of people. Hallowell does a great job making sure people feel safe and welcome.”

Washington-Pare’s daughter, Kenzy Monroe, 13, was helping at the Kennebec County Youth Advisory tent which was situated near the Hubbard Free Library booth. Volunteers for the library were accepting donations of books and taking donations for those who wanted to procure books. The library also hosted story time for children.

“Things are going great,” said library trustee Cam Dufty, who also is a Friend of the Library. “Hallowell has such a fantastic community that always comes out for Pride and for the library.”


Cam Dufty, a Hubbard Free Library trustee, paints the face of Anastasia Heyns, 9, of Gardiner, on Saturday during Hallowell Pride 2024. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

Dufty was painting the cheek of Anastasia Heyns, 9, of Gardiner at a picnic table next to the library booth. Heyn’s mother, Lee Heyns, said they love coming every year to Hallowell Pride.

“It’s a great time for everyone,” she said. “Even my husband, who hates crowds, comes. He’s able to get along with people. He feels he can let his guard down, and it’s safe.”

People of all ages strolled along the sidewalks downtown, some dressed in colorful garb. They were chatting, laughing and ducking into restaurants and pubs to drink and-or dine.

Hallowell Pride 2024 was sponsored by the Quarry Tap Room, city of Hallowell, University of Maine at Augusta, Hannaford, Bailey Bartlett, Infinite Signs, Cafe de Bangkok and EZ Street Lounge.

On Sunday, a Pride gathering is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. at the RiverWalk at Head of Falls off Front Street in Waterville where local businesses, organizations and community members are expected to gather for entertainment, some free food and live music.

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