NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – After years of absence, Saturday was the Hampshire Pride Parade in Northampton.

Lucia Montalvo, an educator said, “Trans lives matter and we should be advocating for the people that are most marginalized in our community.”

22News was at the Hampshire Pride Parade and there were hundreds of people celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ community. People from all over are walking, dancing, and cheering through Northampton.

Thomas Daley of West Roxbury told 22News he enjoys going to pride parades and that it’s long overdue. “I’m ecstatic about it, it’s finally something that needs to be done.”

Saturday marked the first major Pride Parade in Northampton since 2019 due to COVID. The Director of Hampshire Pride, Clay Pearson told 22News that the planning started at the beginning of March and in just nine weeks Hampshire Pride was able to pull off this parade. He says it’s important to have events like this.

“In the politics of this coming season it seems there’s so many anti-drag, anti trans, don’t say gay bills out there and we just need to showcase our community and be vigilant towards the future,” said Pearson.

The parade started at Sheldon Field and ended downtown Northampton. At the end of the parade people were able to go to the Pride Festival. There were three bands, a mayoral proclamation, motivational speaker and two drag reviews, and about 60 vendors at the parade.

Lucia Montalvo added, “We’ve come a long way and there a lot of struggles that we face especially this year so it’s really important to focus on the good things that are happening in our community and to come together.”

People were also able to attend the Hampshire Pride Bar Crawl to get a color wristband and have the opportunity to win a free t-shirt.