HUDSON–Hudson Pride weekend, the city’s first gay pride event, scheduled for June 19 and 20, is gathering momentum.
Activities kick off with a sunset cruise on the Hudson Spirit, departing Saturday at 7:30 p.m. from the Hudson waterfront, and a parade down Warren Street Sunday starting at noon and followed by a rally, a tea dance at the Red Dot, and an educational program at Space 360.
The event’s leaders were all about business as they worked their way through a formidable agenda, addressing details ranging from security and trash removal to radio spots, programs and vendors at a planning session held last Saturday at Space 360. One vendor, dressed in summer drag, added a note of whimsy to the gathering. Rich Volo, the event’s chair, was communicating by Skype from a camping trip in Pennsylvania.
Groups of high school students, including a group of 40 from Hudson and Ichabod Crane, will march under a “Future Pride” banner. The newly elected Hudson High prom king and queen, both gay male students, are certain to be among them. Prom King, Charlie Ferrusi, one of the organizers of Future Pride, is former Hudson Mayor Dick Tracey’s grandson.
“The acceptance of two openly gay kids being honored by their graduating class is remarkable. It speaks well of the general openness and acceptance of Hudson and Columbia County. The fact that dozens of teenagers will be marching with Future Pride is icing on the cake,” said Hudson Pride Committee member Victor Mendolia.
A group of church members, and the Hudson Democrats, as well as floats mounted by the Red Dot, the Aids Council and the Community Radio Station WGXC, will also be part of the parade. The Country Squire B&B will be there with its signature station wagon.
A rally is planned for Front Street, where the parade ends. Winnie’s Jerk Chicken, Mexican Radio, Vasilow’s Confectionary, Guido’s Frozen Desserts and Strongtree will sell food. Sponsors including WGXC, The Cat 98.5 FM, Winebar, Red Dot Restaurant & Bar, BigGayHudsonValley.com, Stair Gallery, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia County Council on the Arts, Hudson Business Coalition, Hudson City Democratic Committee, Columbia County Democratic Committee, Lili and Loo, Mexican Radio, Spotty Dog, Stair Gallery and Vasilow’s, to name just a few, will also be present at the rally.
Stonewall will be remembered by a talk by Hudson resident Ed Beaty, who witnessed the riots and will speak at Space 360 at 5 p.m. after the rally.
The parade is open to anyone who wants to participate. Groups need to check with the organizing committee to secure a parade position, and individuals are welcome to march at the end of the parade.
Gay pride parades started in major cities as a civil rights march after the Stonewall riots of 1969, and have morphed into opportunities for celebration, community pride, self expression and fun enjoyed by the community.
For more info on Hudson Pride go to hudsonpride.com or the event’s Facebook page.