Get loud and proud because Rochester Pride is back and better than ever—complete with glitter beards, drag story hours, and mom hugs. This year, the pride party will take place at Mayo Park on Saturday, Sept. 28, from noon to 4 p.m. The event is crammed with live music, educational activities, food and drink, and dancing.
Rochester Pridefest had its beginning in 1998, but this year, the event has been planned by a newly established nonprofit organization called Rochester Pride. The group formed in the fall of 2018 and consists of diverse LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, and nonbinary) residents. “Our board, made of elected community members, strives to build upon the past 20 years of Pride as we look forward to organizing Pride events for years to come,” says Jennifer Winter, the Rochester Pride Chair.
“When Pride was cancelled last year, there was a lot of chaos, a bit of a void that needed to be filled,” says Bryan Chase, the Rochester Pride Vice Chair. “Several of us stepped up to do that, and encouraged others to join us. It started with the will to make this happen, a few good folx that were willing to put in the work to do it, and a hell of a lot of communication and community.”
This year, the festival will focus on areas of interest that were indicated at an open town hall meeting. “The feedback we received at this event informed much of our early planning,” says Andrea Wood, the Rochester Pride Logistics Chair. “People indicated they wanted live performances, more youth-oriented activities, and more educational programming. We are very proud of our final schedule and feel we have met these goals admirably.”
Live performances will include musical acts KnuFunK, Woolen Lover, Fernando Ufret, DJ Lil Twink, and the dance group Antares Tribal. The event will also include three different tents with programming aimed at general, family-friendly, and mature audiences, respectively. The general tent will include informational sessions about topics like “LGBTQ+ Workers’ Rights Training” presented by the AFL-CIO while the family-friendly tent will present fun activities like a workshop on zine-making. The mature tent will address topics such as surviving conversion therapy and sexual education.
More than 30 vendors and booths will also be part of the celebration. Vendors will include everything from fun hand-made clothing to photography and hand-painted items. Community groups centered on a wide array of topics, including natural foods, ranked-choice voting, and suicide prevention will table at the fest as well.
Families in particular are invited to attend. “Rochester Pride is a family-friendly event because our community is made up of people of all ages,” says Hannah Giehtbrock, the Rochester Pride Vendor Secretary. “Seeing other people and families like yourself can make a world of difference for a child,” adds Julie Winters, the Rochester Pride Fundraising Chair.
Rochester Pride invites everyone to attend. LGBTQ+ people, allies, and the curious should all feel welcome. “I hope the Pride Event this year will be an inclusive space for all to learn about the community and engage in different fun and educational activities,” says Zoe Lynn, the Rochester Pride Education Chair.
“This event shows that the LGBTQ+ community matters in the greater Rochester Community,” says Bethany Gangestad-Birk, the Rochester Pride Social Media & Promotions Chair. “It brings people of all backgrounds and stories together to celebrate themselves and have a dang good time doing it.”
Everything’s coming up rainbows this Saturday at Rochester Pride, so you should join the shindig. If you haven’t partied with Roy G. Biv, you haven’t lived.