Hudson Pride celebration aims for inclusion

HUDSON–Hudson Pride, the city’s first gay pride parade scheduled for June 20 on Warren Street and ending at the Promenade, is meant to be a celebration for everyone, gay or straight, say the event’s organizers.

After two planning meetings this month, organizers say interest in the event is building in and outside of the city. “It’s about time” said Trixie Starr, a.k.a. Rich Volo, who is organizing the event and says he expects more than half of the people attending to be straight, including “all the straight people who have gay relatives or friends. People are coming out of the woodwork. It’s having pride in the city itself. It’s a little eccentric town, and it’s wonderful.”

“Absolutely,” said Mayor Rick Scalera, responding to an invitation last week to march in the parade. “I’m glad that they are stressing that it’s for everybody. It’s just a fun day. I have no reservations. I’ll happily be there and it should be fun.”

“I think celebrating Hudson’s pride is a wonderful idea. One of the strongest characteristics of Hudson is its diversity, and I am always happy to celebrate our diversity,” said Don Moore, president of the Common Council.

“The event will honor the contributions that the gay community makes to the city and will celebrate the diversity and openness that makes Hudson so great,” said Victor Mendolia, chairman of the Hudson Democrats, and one of the organizers of the event. “One reason we are having the rally at the end of the parade route on Promenade Hill with venders and local groups, is we want it to be good for local businesses,” he said.

Anyone who remembers the bleak state of Warren Street in the 1980s before the arrival of the gay business community can recognize how much things have changed. “Bravo,” said Byrne Fone, author of “Historic Hudson,” on the event’s Facebook website. He said that 30 years ago, “a few of us talked about it, but had a dinner party instead. Then as Hudson became gayer the subject arose from time to time,” but there was no action on a gay pride event until now.

The celebration is more than the parade and rally. A Friday night sunset cruise on the Spirit of Hudson, and a Hudson Pride Tea Dance are also planned.

Organizers are looking for more people to participate in the parade. And the village of Catskill will be coordinating its gay pride celebration activities, scheduled for the same day, with Hudson’s.

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