Jun 23, 2022
Last year, hundreds of people turned out to the Town Green for the first annual Longmeadow Pride Festival. This year, as the event grows, more fundraising is needed.
Original Article: https://www.thereminder.com/localnews/longmeadow/community-help-needed-for-2022-longmeadow-pride-fe/
LONGMEADOW – Last year, hundreds of people turned out to the Town Green for the first annual Longmeadow Pride Festival. The event, hosted by the Longmeadow Pride Alliance, celebrated inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning plus) community in Longmeadow.
The alliance plans to host the festival again this year, on Sept. 18, but Elizabeth Morgan, vice president of Longmeadow Pride Alliance, said it will need the community’s help.
The 2021 event cost $6,967 to put on, not including in-kind donations from organizations and businesses. Morgan explained that hosting the festival requires renting a stage, tents and chairs, as well as paying for the Longmeadow Police to have a presence and for temporary “no parking” signs. Last year, the organization handed out complimentary water due to the hot weather, and between that, other health concerns and décor, the festival became expensive to host.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Alliance relies on donations and community fundraising to pay for the festival. The fundraising goal for this year is $7,500. To facilitate this, the alliance is hosting a gofundme.com campaign to raise money for the 2022 event.
“We’ve been in the process since the last festival,” Morgan said of organizing and contacting vendors and participants for the 2022 festival. “People are interested and want to participate.”
The organizers have received interest from local entertainers, First Church of Christ in Longmeadow, the Springfield Jewish Community Center and service providers that focus on the LGBT communities.
While June is federally recognized as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, the alliance hosted Longmeadow’s first Pride Festival in September 2021.
Because the organization had come together in June of that year, they felt it was too short a period to organize within. This year, the alliance kept the fall date.
“We have gravitated toward the tag line, ‘Pride all year long,’” Morgan said. There are logistical benefits to hosting the event in September, as well, including a lack of competition with other events. She also said the organization works to make the event family-friendly and many families are out of the area on vacation in June.
By September, families have come back for the new school year.
The festival will be longer this year, running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., rather than shutting down at 2 p.m. In the first year, Morgan said the alliance was unsure how many people would come, but with a good idea of the crowd, there will be more food options as well as the longer hours. The alliance is also investing in a better stage than last year to enhance the entertainment.
“The goal is to provide a safe and welcoming space for people in the LGBT community,” Morgan said. ‘We’re going to put on the best, most inclusive event possible for the least amount of money.”
To donate to the 2022 Pride Festival, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/longmeadow-pride-festival-2022