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As summer rolls into New England’s rocky coasts and towering peaks, with it comes a wave of pride. Throughout these summer months, towns across the region hoist their rainbow flags and charter floats to celebrate their wonderful LGBT residents. Yep, here in New England we have an awful lot to be proud of. From the raucous festivities of Boston Pride to the quirky parades of the area’s smaller hamlets, these New England pride celebrations promise a summer filled with nothing but peace, love, and pride.
Massachusetts may not be too hefty but it’s absolutely bursting forth with amazing summer pride parades. Now the largest annual public event in New England, Boston Pride is ideal for anyone looking to get the full pride experience. For ten days in June, Boston becomes a hub of love with small marches, speeches, over 40 events, and a four-hour parade celebrating Boston’s diversity and richness. Boston Pride also pays special attention to intersectionality within the LGBT community, hosting events to celebrate Black and Latin@ pride including dance parties, roller skating, and panels on artificial insemination.
While Boston Pride may be the largest festival in the state, Massachusetts’ other cities have offerings that are not to be missed. Located in the city of Northampton, NoHo Pride features a high-energy parade down the city’s Main Street plus performances by local musicians and a host of drag queens and drag kings. For those of your crazy for the coast, head out on the Cape to one of the most LGBT-friendly resort communities in the U.S. Provincetown Carnival expands the traditional parade for a week of festivities including boat cruises, dance parties, and vendor fairs.
Not to be confused with Portland Pride, the pride celebration on the other coast, Pride Portland! is a ten-day party across Maine’s biggest city. Mainers know that LGBT pride is good for business. The event includes a marketplace with more than 50 gay, lesbian, and transgender-friendly businesses, so you can shop 'til you drop. Take the week off and lather on some sunscreen because this coastal town will have you brimming forth with pride for ten days straight (or not so straight, as the case may be).
Don’t believe the rumors — size doesn’t matter. Just ask Rhode Island, a small state with a wickedly active LGBT community. Like Providence Pride and Newport Pride all rolled up into one fabulous package, Rhode Island PrideFest is huge, statewide celebration, drawing spectators from across New England. And we haven’t even gotten to the best part. If you’re sick of spending pride drenched in sweat and baking in the summer sun, RI PrideFest is here to make your dreams come true with New England’s only nighttime pride parade.
Held every year on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Pride Vermont in Burlington may be more petite than its regional cohorts, but don’t think it’s any less joyful. Vermont, the first state in the US to legalize gay marriage in 2001, has a large LGBT community that comes out in full force on parade day. Not to mention, the views of Lake Champlain from the parade’s end-point, Battery Park, are enough to make you weep. While some pride celebrations lean towards debauchery (and if we’re being honest, who doesn’t love a bit of debauchery), Pride Vermont is suitable for all ages with tents and activities for children and young adults.
While Portsmouth Pride may seem a bouncing newborn babe compared to some of the other pride celebrations on our list, it’s been a long time coming for its organizers, Seacoast Outright, who have been fighting for LGBT rights for over 20 years. Kicking off its inaugural year in 2015, the first Portsmouth Pride got a welcome boost, happening just days after same-sex marriage was legalized across the country. Portsmouth Pride puts a unique spin on the traditional pride parade, gathering participants in six different locations around Portsmouth with them eventually converging on downtown’s Market Square. Though they may be young, we see many years in this pride celebration’s future.
Despite its large LGBT population, Connecticut has been without a large-scale pride celebration in recent years. However, in 2015, Hartford Capital City Pride came back with vengeance on the same day that DOMA was struck down. Over 500 hundred people came out to the state’s courthouse to celebrate, the same spot where a LGBT rights rally had been held over thirty years before. With the momentum of 2015's celebration spurring them on, Hartford Pride seems to be here to stay. It’s a big task to celebrate so many days of pride. Stay rested, relaxed and, most importantly, full of self-love by combining your pride celebration with a stay at an LGBT-friendly inn or resort in New England.