LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – History was made in Longmeadow on Sunday, the town holding its first-ever PRIDE festival.
It had such a good turnout, parking spots were tough to find.
“This is amazing, I mean Longmeadow has never done anything before, the turnout phenomenal, its so great to see everyone out,” Seth Stutman, Marketing and Membership Director for Springfield JCC said.
“Everybody is welcome here and its a safe spot, you’re not alone,” said Shelby Cooney of Longmeadow. “People are loving here, accepting, and there are a lot of fun events.”
This colorful event featured craft vendors, local food trucks, as well as live music. The event’s founder saw a request for a pride event on the town’s online forum and made it a reality.
“Someone posted on Longmeadow public forum, ‘hey who thinks we should have a pride event in Longmeadow.’ It was crickets, so I said I’ll do it. I’m going to find a way to make it happen,” founder of Longmeadow Pride Alliance, Nate Munic said.
Before Sunday, Longmeadow never had a pride celebration as big as this, the organizers made sure to change that, as well as educate others on what PRIDE is and raise awareness about the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community.
“There is a lot of parenting issues, people don’t know how to support an LGBTQ community,” Munic said. “Some are abusive and hostile and creates a range of issues for kids in our LGBTQ community.”
He also pointed out many in the LGBTQ community have it way worse outside the U.S.
“In some places, it’s illegal to be gay, I think in 72 countries that still make it illegal,” said Munic. “It’s insane.”
Munic told 22News none of this would have been possible without the donations from their corporate sponsors, as well as these generous individuals. The plan is to do it again next year and continue to push their mission.
“My biggest hope is for anyone that attends Longmeadow PRIDE can let their walls down, express themselves the way they want, and be proud to be themselves,” he said.