NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – This Saturday will mark the first major pride parade in Northampton since 2019.

As part of tradition, the parade in Northampton celebrating the LGBTQ community is held a month early before students from the Five Colleges leave for the school year. There’s a lot that’s new this year including whose running it: Clay Pearson with Hampshire Pride said they got the green light to start planning in March.

“We had nine weeks to pull together a pride and I’m very happy with how it’s turning out,” said Pearson.

The route is also changing. This year, the parade will start at Sheldon Field and end in downtown, with the Pride Festival just outside the parking garage. Throughout the day, you can expect drag performances, bands and 60 vendors to fill the parking lot.

There will also be a Hampshire Pride Bar Crawl, where you can get a colorful wristband from nine participating bars for the chance to win a free t-shirt. The crawl will include businesses such as The Majestic Saloon, Wurst Haus and the Dirty Truth.

“We’re excited to welcome everybody in, share some special drinks from featured producers that really support the LGBTQ community,” said Kyle Anderson, owner of The Dirty Truth.

Pearson is encouraging members of the LGBTQ community and allies to come out and celebrate this Saturday but also recognize the fight isn’t over. “In the political air that is now with anti-trans, anti-drag queen, Don’t Say Gay bills… we just need to stay vigilant and honor the LGBTQ community,” Pearson said.

The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday.