Hudson’s Pride Weekend starts June 15
Hudson’s third annual Gay Pride Parade and Rally, which will take place starting at 2 p.m. June 16, now has its grand marshals.
Heading up the parade will be New York State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, D-Morningside Heights, and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-Washington.
Martha Harvey, executive director of the Hudson Pride Foundation, said organizers were thrilled to get O’Donnell to serve as a grand marshal.
“He and (Assemblywoman) Debra Glick have been for so long pushing for marriage equality through the Senate and the Assembly,” Harvey said. “He was very instrumental.”
The first openly gay man in the Assembly, O’Donnell married his partner, John Banta, after the Marriage Equality Act went into effect July 24, 2011.
O’Donnell and Barrett are friends, Harvey said.
“A longtime resident of the Mid-Hudson Valley, Assemblywoman Barrett has an extensive and accomplished record of strategizing, planning and successfully executing community initiatives that have worked to better the lives of hardworking families in the Hudson Valley,” states a press release from the Hudson Pride Foundation.
“We are so fortunate to have such committed, involved, and passionate supporters of LGBT issues in our state’s Legislature” said Harvey. “We are thrilled that they have both agreed to grand marshal our event.”
Of course, O’Donnell and Barrett are not the only famous or influential people who will be in this year’s parade.
Also marching will be Dorothy Gale and her friends, as well as an enemy or two.
Artists Dan Rupe and Ken Polinske designed and created, with the help of several friends, nine large papier maché masks of characters from “The Wizard of Oz.” Marching in the parade will be Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, the Cowardly Lion, Glinda the Good Witch of the North, the Wicked Witch of the West, a munchkin, a tree and the wizard.
Rupe told the Register-Star that “The Wizard of Oz” is a story that’s important to the gay community for many reasons: It involves a search and an attempt to get back home, with the notion that Hudson is home.
Rupe said he hopes this will be a legacy project that will happen each year, with characters being added to it every year.
Hudson Pride Weekend kicks off with two cruises Friday night.
On Saturday, the parade steps off from Seventh Street Park at 2 p.m., heading down Warren Street to conclude at Riverfront Park.
From 3 to 6 p.m., there will be a rally featuring music by Lady Moon and Grammy-winning singer Maya Azucena, dozens of vendors and a beer tent.
The festivities continue from 8 to 10 p.m. at Club Helsinki, followed by a dance party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. upstairs at the club.
Sunday is Family Day.
“It’s geared toward kids, and it celebrates all kinds of families,” Harvey said. It’s free, and it lasts from noon to 5 p.m.
Last year, attendance seemed a little sparse on Family Day.
“The problem last year was we spread it out too much,” Harvey said. “The vendors were spread out all the way up Warren to Third Street. There was too much real estate.”
This year, all the action on Sunday will be down at Riverfront Park in the big tent.
“It will be more compact and more lively,” she said. “It’s generating a huge amount of buzz. Lots of volunteers are giving their time and energy — this year, it will be great down by the water. You’ll be able to hear music while you’re right there by the face-painting.”
Last year’s events attracted about 1,500 people, Harvey said.
“We’re hoping to far exceed that this year,” she said. “We have record ticket sales this year already. We heard from the B&Bs that they’re booked — we’re positive it will be a capacity crowd.”