West Hartford Pride was planning large events for 2020, but the pandemic derailed those plans and virtual programming took place instead.
This year, several events are planned to mark pride month, including a street fair, speakers, and a children’s art show.
Co-chairs Barry Walter and Johanna Schubert said the idea sprang three years ago, after
“I guess you could say I was the one who had the crazy idea to do this,” Walter said. “It started with an idea centered around what was going on politically at the time, and the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. I was with the Human Rights Commission in West Hartford at the time. It was after that rally that I looked out and saw a decent-sized crowd. I saw families with kids and teens there and how much it meant to them. I thought we could do something bigger and better. So, I went to the town of West Hartford and they were all for it.”
Pride Month kicked off on June 1 with a flag-raising at Unity Square, with mayor Shari Cantor and several other town dignitaries in attendance.
On June 11, Pride Night will take place at Gastro Park, from 4-9 p.m., including food trucks and entertainment including a drag performance.
A children’s art exhibit begins on June 22 and runs through July 2, inviting children to depict their families and what that means to them.
“It’s an open call to all kids, whether they have queer parents or someone in their family that makes them queer-adjacent,” Schubert said. “We don’t want to exclude anybody. The idea is for them to give some sort of their family and what it looks like to them. That can be sculpture, painting or drawing - any medium that they would like.”
All submitted works will be displayed at the Noah Webster Branch of the West Hartford Public Library, and artists may submit up to two works, which can be no larger than 32 x 20 inches in size, and must be able to be displayed on an easel or stand. Consult the West Hartford Pride website for submission details.
The art show is sponsored by Jerry’s Art-o-Rama of West Hartford.
At 7 p.m. on June 23rd, Tell Me Another, the LGBTQ+ Experience, will be hosed by Chion Wolf of WNPR. The event will be held at the Universalist Church of West Hartford at 433 Fern St., and will ask people to share their first-person experiences and stories.
An LGBTQ+ Mini FilmFest will take place on June 25, as will a Laugh with Pride comedy show at New Park Brewing.
The culminating event will take place June 26, with a street fair encompassing all of Isham Rd. The event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m., and will include vendor booths, music, performances and speakers.
“We are really intentional about making sure that the committee reflects the diversity, culture and different identities of West Hartford. We know how important it is to see yourself reflected in a festival and celebration like this. We don’t want anyone to feel left out,” Schubert said. “Our committee has members from the disability community, from the LGBTQ community, we have allies on our committee. There are folks of all races, gender identities and religions.”
Schubert added that there is a focus on youth and families in this year’s celebrations.
“For us, here in West Hartford, we wanted to make sure that families felt welcome,” she said.
Major sponsors for the events include CT Voice, BeMindfulWeb.com and the Town of West Hartford.
For more information, including a compete calendar of events, visit www.westhartfordpride.org.