Watertown celebrates pride month

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 8:15 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Rainbow colors could be seen all across Watertown this weekend as the LGBTQ+ community celebrated Pride Month everywhere from City Hall to Thompson Park.

The Watertown LGTBQ+ community was dancing in the streets on Saturday.

Watertown Pride 2022 took over Thompson Park. Nearly 1,000 people showed up and showed out for one of many events culminating Pride Month in the North Country.

“I’ve been living in the northern New York area for 20 years,” said Mark Irwin, one of the pride event organizers. “It is just amazing to come together and see so many familiar faces and just know that we are all welcome here.”

Pride weekend kicked off Friday night with a party at the Paddock Arcade. The celebrations continued Saturday morning with a flag raising ceremony at City Hall.

“On behalf of our Governor Kathy Hochul, the Governor of the state of New York, do here by proclaim June 2022 as LBGTQ+ Pride Month. Happy Pride Everyone,” said Owen Gilbo, a New York State equal opportunity specialist.

“Events like this are very important,” said Dierdre Scozzafava, former New York Assembly member. “You see the smiles on some of the young people’s faces, especially some of the people from the center. Where they feel welcome, that they feel they’re part of the community and they’re valued.”

The festivities moved from city hall to Thompson Park, as “Out In The Park” drew young and old alike. Food trucks, face painting, bouncy houses, and a color run highlighted the afternoon. All capped with a sea of color and glitter atop the hill overlooking Watertown.

“I just think it’s so great that everyone came together even on a chilly morning, really drenched in color,” said Jordyn Kenkel, a color run participant.

“It’s been really fun and welcoming. I was actually very surprised with the atmosphere here, it’s a very good place to be right now,” said Frankie Rivera, another participant of the run.

The events of the weekend help support the Q Center in Watertown run by ACR Health. Along with a check presentation for $6,000, ACR Health Executive Director Lisa Alford had a surprise announcement for those in attendance.

“In a few weeks, we’ll actually be opening up our first permanent site for our LGBTQ+ youth, and we are just ecstatic about that,” said Alford.

Pride 2022 continues through the weekend with fireworks Saturday night at the Fairgrounds, and Sunday afternoon with a tea dance hosted by Garland City Beer Works.

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