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Hopkinton’s Pride Parade attracts hundreds

by | Jun 11, 2023 | Featured: News, News

Pride Parade

PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

The positivity was palpable at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts on Sunday afternoon as hundreds of people gathered for the third annual Hopkinton Pride Parade and celebration.

The three-hour event was co-hosted by the Hopkinton Freedom Team, Hopkinton Youth and Family Services, and the Hopkinton Center for the Arts to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in an inclusive and family-friendly environment. Rainbow flags, ribbons, balloons and banners waved in the summer breeze as an estimated 380 people from Hopkinton and surrounding communities marched up Hayden Rowe Street before circling back to the HCA through neighborhood streets.

“This year, we were really trying to include more of the surrounding communities,” said lead event organizer Cathleen Dinsmore of the Hopkinton Freedom Team. “We have organizations from Holliston, Westborough, Milford and Southborough participating, as well as local groups.”

Lynn Canty, a fellow HFT member and volunteer, said she was excited about the event’s expansion.

“I think it’s absolutely amazing to have this collective coming together,” she said. “Having the location change to the HCA was great, and they have been really supportive.”

Pride was on full display as spectators cheered, waved and danced throughout the HCA grounds. Some waved rainbow flags while others wore T-shirts with messages such as “Be Kind” and “Love is Love.” Others wore leis and carried parasols.

A local DJ pumped up the crowd with pop tunes that captured the day’s momentum, including “Happy” by Pharrell Williams  and “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus. Food trucks served ice cream and hot dogs to the attendees while they were treated to live music and dance performances throughout the afternoon. Younger children enjoyed a bouncy house while groups of friends took pictures at a photo booth.

Later in the afternoon, an a cappella singing group entertained the crowd. Dance performances from the South Asian Circle of Hopkinton, Dance on Dance Center in Hudson, and Hopkinton High School’s K Club drew cheers and applause.

Pride Parade

PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Hopkinton Freedom Team volunteer Chelsea Rockhold has been involved since the first parade, which originally circled the high school track. She said it was moving to see the shift to Hayden Rowe Street with participants from Hopkinton and beyond.

“Having it at all was really, really impactful for our family,” she said. “And then watching it move up further in the community, become bigger and bigger, and really have it be visible and celebratory like this is really cool. It used to be back on the track, but now it’s front and center.”

Rockhold credited the Hopkinton Freedom Team and all of the participants for the day’s success.

Hopkinton SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) was one of several organizations with information tables lining the parking lot. The group brings together parents of special education students with school administration and provides feedback on school programs.

“SEPAC is proud to stand with the Hopkinton Freedom Team to celebrate pride and diversity in our community,” said SEPAC events coordinator Erica Seekell. “We were thrilled to meet so many residents and introduce them to the mission of SEPAC.”

Danielle Fitzpatrick stood on Hayden Rowe Street as she watched for her wife and daughter, who were marching in the parade.

“My family is an LGBT family,” she said. “We just want to celebrate who we are. Love is love, and we’re just here to spread the love.”

“I was here last year, and it wasn’t this big,” added her cousin,  Mary Marcello, who has a transgender daughter. “There’s a great turnout, and it’s all positive.”

“We’re just so blessed that we have a welcoming community like this,” said Hopkinton Police Chief Joseph Bennett. “It’s a gorgeous day, and I was really happy that I can be here.”

He added that countless hours of volunteer effort made the day a great success.

“This is important stuff,” said Woodville resident Mike Perkins as he and Hudson, his son, took turns waving a large pride flag with the message “Abide No Hatred.” He purchased it through The Bitter Southerner, a group that works to advance social justice causes in the South.

“This flag is so weathered because it’s been flying at our house for about a year and a half,” he said. “It’s important, especially the way the world is now, to show support.”

He added that the HCA was the perfect venue for the activities, calling it “a town treasure.”

School Committee member Adam Munroe said he came to show his support for the LGBT+ community and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

“As a member of the School Committee, I’m very interested in what all aspects of the community are involved with,” he said. “I’ve always been very supportive, and I take people at face value for who and what they want to be.”

He added that some family members and close friends are members of the LGBT community.

“I think the LGBTQ community, in general, is underrepresented,” Munroe continued. “Culture is always changing, and the more voices we have represented in determining what our culture is going to be, the richer we will be as a society.”

Pride Parade

PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Pride Parade

PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Pride Parade

PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Pride Parade

PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Pride Parade

PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Pride Parade

PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

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