HAPPENING TODAY! City of Lockport Hosts Pride Festival For the First Time

For the first time in Lockport’s history, an LGBTQ+ Pride celebration will be held at the Kenan Center on Saturday, June 22, 2024 from 1pm to 5pm, with a special drag performance held from 6pm to 7pm at the Kenan’s Taylor Theater.

Niagara Pride has partnered with the Kenan Center to be able to provide a community-based Pride event for the City of Lockport this year.  The event will feature over 50 vendors, food trucks, performances during the festival, as well as activities for youth, making the event a family friendly event.

Lockport Pride is part of a series of Pride events hosted by Niagara Pride in an effort to bring festivals and events to Niagara County that are free of charge for attendees and allow for those in rural parts of Niagara County to be able to partake in Pride.  Earlier in June, Niagara Pride hosted Newfane Pride in partnership with Calhoon’s Pub, Oliver Street Pride in partnership with Oliver Street Merchants Association, and held the WNY Pride 5K on the grounds of SUNY Niagara.

“It’s important that we celebrate diversity and show that everyone is welcome throughout our county,” said Ronald Piaseczny, President of Niagara Pride.  “Events like these create safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals as well as allies in our neighborhoods.”

Several years ago, Niagara Pride started the annual Pride Flag Raising Ceremony in the City of Lockport with then Mayor Michelle Roman.  Holding a Pride celebration in Lockport strengthens the City’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

All of Niagara Pride’s celebrations are free to attend, have family friendly and welcoming programming in order to make Pride celebrations more geographically and financially accessible for everyone, while allowing parents and caregivers to bring youth to a safe and affirming environment.  In order to ensure that commitment to accessibility, Niagara Pride is partnering with Discover Niagara Shuttle, to provide a free drop off/hop on service, connecting the major cities in Niagara County, allowing individuals to be able to travel to all of Niagara Pride’s community Pride festivals during the month of June.

“For many in the rural parts of WNY who identify as LGBTQIA+ or as an ally, being able to get to downtown Buffalo for any of the Pride events held there can be challenging.  Lack of transportation and admission fees can be a deterrent in attending.  Thanks to community partners and corporate sponsors like M&T Bank, Niagara Pride is able to bring Pride into those rural communities and create safe and affirming spaces so that anyone wishing to participate in Pride can be part of the celebration,” said Piaseczny.

Additional Niagara Pride’s Season of Pride 2024 events being held in July and August, as well as event information can be found at www.niagarapride.org.

Niagara Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ+ individuals and families in Niagara County and WNY.  They offer educational programming, engage in charitable works, and offer social programming to create safe and welcoming environment for all those who identify as LGBTQ+ living throughout WNY.  They rely primarily on donations to provide these services and have no paid staff…only volunteers.

Some of the services Niagara Pride offers include:

  • LGBTQ+ Diversity and Inclusivity Trainings for businesses and organizations – over 8,000 individuals, both locally and nationally, attended these trainings throughout 2023.
  • Jean Hopkins Memorial Scholarship – two $500 scholarships are awarded to a graduating high school senior pursuing higher education.
  • Niagara County GSA Grants and WNY Rural GSA Grants – grants provided to local GSAs to help fund LGBTQ+ diversity programs at their middle or high schools.
  • Know Your Status – a campaign designed to provide free sexual health information and resources to residents of WNY as well as create an online tool that allows individuals to easily locate HIV/AIDS and STI testing sites throughout the 8 counties of Western New York.
  • WNY LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Fair – an opportunity for community members to learn about LGBTQ+ specific and/or affirming programs, services, and resources offered by local community service providers.
  • WNY Pride 5K – a fun race/walk in WNY with a focus of bringing awareness to, while also celebrating the local WNY LGBTQ+ Community
  • Community-based Pride Celebrations – Rainbow City (Niagara Falls) Pride (in partnership with Old Falls Street), Newfane Pride, North Tonawanda Pride (in partnership with the Oliver Street Merchants Association)!
  • And in partnership with other agencies, Niagara Pride has been able to offer various groups/services.

For more information about Niagara Pride, check out their website at www.niagarapride.org, email them at info@niagarapride.org, or check them out on Facebook (Niagara Pride (serving all of WNY)).

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