MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) – Middletown is gearing up the celebrate the LGBTQ community this weekend.
Middletown Pride is hosting its first-ever event and is expecting thousands to head out this weekend.
Friday night will kick off with a pride dance party at Vinnie’s Jump and Jive, but in less than 24 hours, hundreds will be marching and celebrating on Main Street.
All over the city, there is pride displayed proudly, which is a welcomed sight by people who live and work there.
Mayor Dan Drew spoke with Channel 3 and said this all started after a city employee approached him last year to say city hall should raise the pride flag.
The symbolic colors reflect the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender-plus communities.
“I said, ‘Great idea. We’ve never done that before,’” Drew said.
That city employee is Assistant General Counsel Chris Smedick.
Fast forward a year later, now he’s spearheading Middletown Pride.
The inaugural event comes before a commemoration highlight a major turning point for the Gay Rights Movement.
“This is a very important and historic year. This is the 50th Anniversary of the modern-day Gay Rights Movement, which started in 1969 in Stonewall,” Smedick said.
He’s referring to the riots after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Manhattan. Days of unrest and violence followed.
A half a century later, Middletown is celebrating its diverse community.
Organizers said they’ve received some threats, but said this highlights why the parade is needed in the first place.
Organizers say there will be local eateries, craft beers, vendors, arts and crafts, and more to choose from.
The big draw is Saturday’s parade, starting at 2 p.m. on Main Street near St. John’s Square and ending at Union Street, where the festival will be.
Road closures for Saturday’s parade starts around 1 p.m.
For more information on parking and the events, click here.