Franklin County Pride: ‘How far we’ve come’

  • Participants in last year’s Franklin County Pride events gather at Energy Park after the parade in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Participants in last year’s Franklin County Pride parade and rally — the second — make their way down Federal Street in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Participants in the second annual Franklin County Pride parade and rally make their way down Federal Street in Greenfield last year.. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 6/13/2019 5:41:13 AM

GREENFIELD — Nearly 50 years ago, the Stonewall riots, widely regarded as the birth of the gay rights movement, began in New York City when police arrived at the bar and conducted a raid.

As lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender people united against the escalating harassment and discrimination of the police — the first pride rally occurred.

“That’s this year’s theme,” said Jamie Pottern, president of the board for Franklin County Pride. “Not only do we want to acknowledge how far we’ve come, but we still have a ways to go. This pride parade is young as an organization, but we’re trying to build, to lift up the voices of all people, especially queer and trans people of color.”

This year marks the third Franklin County Pride parade and rally, which has also come a long way.

“The first year, it was put together in a couple of months,” Pottern said. “The parade was down the sidewalk. Now we have permits to march in the street, we have 50 groups registered. It’s more formalized now; we have local businesses that have sponsored us and help create a robust event.”

The event is put on with the help of volunteers, like Pottern, who said that without the love and support of the volunteers, the event wouldn’t happen.

“People have really stepped up,” Pottern said. “We have a group of really dedicated volunteers.”

The event is open to the public and is family-friendly.

“We encourage people to come out and celebrate, to learn about issues people are facing in Franklin County,” Pottern said. “This event is an act of solidarity, an act of resistance. We hope people come support and show visibility, particularly in a rural part of the state.”

Schedule of events

■Join drag queen entertainers Jenayah De Rosario and Liz every second Thursday of the month, starting at 8 p.m., for Drag Queen Bingo at Hawks and Reed. Games are 10 rounds for $10 or $1 per game, with prizes for winners. Cocktails and food will be available as well. There’s no door charge.

■On Friday, three movies, “The Birdcage,” “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” will be shown at the Greenfield Garden Cinemas from 7 p.m. to midnight. $5 per show or $12 for all three.

■“Drag Brunch” with Hors and Friends on Saturday starting at 10 a.m., at Hawks and Reed. The event will be catered by The Brass Buckle. Think of it as a dinner theater — while you enjoy a buffet-style brunch, or get your fill of adult drinks at the cash bar, drag performers will perform with lip syncs, high-energy dance numbers, feats of acrobatics, comedic routines and more.

■The pride parade will run Saturday, noon to 1 p.m., beginning at 195 Federal St. and ending at Energy Park, 50 Miles St.

■The rally pre-show lineup will be from 12:20 to 1 p.m., with performances by the Offbeat Woman’s Drumming Ensemble, Mega Dance and belly dancing by Shimmering Shimmies.

■The pride rally and festival will be from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at Energy Park. Speakers and entertainers will speak or perform from 1 to 3 p.m.

The order of the rally and entertainers is as follows: Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, speaker; drumming by Puertominicana; Rainbow Elders, speakers; music by STOMPBOXTRIO; drag performance by Miss Baites; spoken word by Robbie Dunning; music by ZoKi; music by Diana Alvarez; and music by Cherry Street Squad. 

There will be a "Saturday Night Standup: A Queer Showcase" comedy show at Hawks and Reed featuring local talent as well as performers coming from New York City, Boston, and Connecticut. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 day of show.

To purchase tickets go to https://hawksandreed.ticketfly.com/event/1862570-saturday-night-standup-queer-greenfield/ 

■There will also be disc jockey set “sugar biscuit: born this way” with DJ LeFox starts at 9 p.m. Saturday in The Wheelhouse at Hawks and Reed, 10 Court Square, with a $5 cover.

March and rallyaccessibility strategies

■There will be an American Sign Language interpretation of the performance.

■Large print programs are available for those with visual impairment.

■The venue is fully wheelchair-accessible, including wide gravel access down to the stage area. Some vendors will only be accessible via grass.

■A shaded tent will have seating.

■A gender-neutral and wheelchair-accessible Porta-Potty will be located at both the march launch point and at the even t.

■The event is outside, which   organizers hope will help make    it accessible to people with chemical sensitivities.

Franklin County Pride aims for inclusion for those with physical and mobility challenges, and audio and visual impairment.

Email franklincountypride@gmail.com with additional questions.

Reach Melina Bourdeau at mbourdeau@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 263.


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