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Watertown kicks off Pride celebration Friday

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 4:38 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The colors of the rainbow hover over Watertown this weekend - celebrating LGBTQ pride and the fight for equal rights.

The month of June is Pride Month and it means a lot for those in the LGBTQ community as they come together to celebrate and remember those who fought for the celebrations to even be able to happen.

Preparations began early in the Paddock Arcade as the venue was transformed into the Friday kickoff party for Watertown Pride 2022.

The organization is holding a weekend full of events to celebrate those in the LGBTQ community.

“Not having the pandemic on this time, we get to really just celebrate, get involved in the community, see people we haven’t seen in a while perhaps,” said Mark Irwin.

This is the 4th year that Irwin and other organizers have put on the festivities.

There’s a flag raising at city hall Saturday at 9 a.m., a color run, and, for the second year, an event called Out in the Park - an afternoon full of family fun and games on Saturday at Thompson Park.

Then Saturday night, fireworks at 10:15 At the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds.

Irwin says they expect high attendance numbers this year thanks to some help from their new partner, the Thousand Islands Tourism Council, which has been running paid advertisements for weeks across several social media platforms.

“We are hoping that we are going to become a regional event that draws people in from all over the country and Canada as well so that we support local business and get to be a really unique place for people to come and celebrate this part of Pride Month,” said Irwin.

These events serve an even bigger purpose. Hilary Avallone is the program supervisor for the Q Center at ACR Health, based out of Syracuse.

Watertown Pride is a big supporter of the center, which is a safe space for LGBTQ youth to gather, share and receive support.

“Having events like Pride sort of builds on that creating of safety and building communities so no matter where someone goes in the community they can feel supported,” she said.

Avallone says they are always looking for more volunteers in the community to help with events and programming for youth.

She says social media is the easiest way to get that process started.

For a full list of events, click here.

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