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Belfast Has Pride: Coastal Town Holds First Ever LGBT Pride Festival 

Folks in Belfast marked a milestone today, with hundreds turning out for the city’s first-ever L-G-B-T pride festival…

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“Pride is something you should be able to do wherever you live, not just in big cities,” says Makayla Reed, a co-organizer of Belfast Has Pride

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday for the first ever Belfast Has Pride.

“Well, really to show our cultural heritage–very welcoming and accepting of all people,” says Adam Ratterree, a festival attendee.

The event featured a parade through downtown, followed by a festival on the waterfront full of performances, food and local vendors.

“I think this is more than we ever could have imagined. We are so humbled by our community really rallying together for this and all the folks that are visiting, and to everyone being so involved. this is beautiful,” says Reed.

Organizers say it’s important for folks on the Midcoast to see that there is a vibrant LGBT community here–not just in larger cities like Portland.

“We know that there’s a community of LGBT people that live in Belfast and throughout Waldo County, but there aren’t as many opportunities to get everyone together for one big event. We want this to be a regular event,” says Rachel Epperly, a co-organizer of Belfast Has Pride.

For others it’s about showing that Mainers as a whole are more open-minded than they sometimes get credit for.

“There are a lot of myths about Maine I think today–and maybe they were true in the past–and this proves that so wrong,” says Toussaint St. Negritude, a festival attendee. “I hope that this further unifies the whole community, whether around sexuality or race or class.”

The hope, we’re told, is that Belfast becomes a model for other small communities throughout Maine–when it comes to celebrating pride.

“We’re hoping that this event is a more central location for some of the prides and that we’re starting a model that small towns can adopt, so hopefully there’ll be small towns across pride all over next year and beyond,” says Epperly.