PRIDE Is Back on The Seacoast At Portsmouth,NH March
Another event canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic makes it return on Saturday: the Portsmouth PRIDE march, outdoor festival and marketplace.
The march starts at noon in Portsmouth's Market Square when participants will gather for the march which steps off at 12:30 p.m. and goes along Court Street and Marcy Street to Strawbery Banke Museum’s Puddle Dock Field. Banners, signs, flags, and costumes are all welcome.
The day's events are organized by Seacoast Outright which was founded in 1993 after a UNH conference that brought forth a need to support LGBTQ youth, Executive Director Hershey Hirschkop told Seacoast Current.
"If you're queer it's the biggest holiday of the year for our community. Since 2015 this will be our seventh march. 2020 was virtual, it didn't make anybody happy. But it was the pandemic and no one was happy at the time," Hirschkop said.
The group resumed its in-person activities during the Prescott Park Festival with a mini-marketplace and a movie night.
"We put off a real and traditional pride event until October hoping things would be open. We're in the middle of this Delta variant surge so we're asking people to wear a mask even outdoors and that people be vaccinated to enter our marketplace," Hirschkop said.
Young people age 12 to 21 are invited to march with the Outright Youth group who will lead the procession. Other groups open to all ages include Black Lives Matter Seacoast, Out in the Boonies, Allies 4 Ever, Seacoast Queers With Kids (SQWK), New England Aces, and more.
Hirschkop said participants can join one the groups for the march or sign up their own at seacoastoutright.org/events.
Other activities include a youth talent showcase, musical guests on the Mainstage, including a dance party featuring DJ WhySham. The Pride Marketplace will food, activities, vendors, community resources, and more until 5 p.m.
Speakers scheduled to appear at the event include Rep. Chris Pappas, Rochester City Councilor and co-founder of Affirming Spaces Project Palana Hunt-Hawkins, Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine and Gerri Cannon, NH State Representative and Executive Director of Renaissance New England. Hirschkop will also speak.
"With continuing Covid concerns and ongoing political attacks on vulnerable members of our communities, it’s more important than ever that we come together safely to show our LGBTQ+ youth they have community-wide support," Hirschkop said.
Hirschkop said Seacoact Outright's sole mission has been to serve, support and advocate for LGBTQ youth in the greater Seacoast area.
"At this point we're serving all of New Hampshire because we went online like many group during the pandemic. We also serve York County and northern Massachusetts," Hirschkop said.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH