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Central New York celebrates Pride 2023

By Ron Klopfanstein

Celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ Community is more important than ever this year, there are many ways to do that right here in the Mohawk Valley

In 1969, Woodstock took place, and man walked on the moon; it was also a groundbreaking year for progress in civil rights because, on June 28th of that year, patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back against violent oppression by the police, and society, for the first time in recorded American history. In the 54 years that followed, progress was made, as it always is, with exhilarating strides forward and with discouraging, sometimes frightening, backslides fueled by bigotry and hate. Although we are living through a time of backsliding, several Pride events are taking place throughout the month of June in Oneida, Herkimer, Madison, Lewis, and Onondaga counties. It is time to come together and move forward again.

“Pride is important to celebrate every year as we have come so far as a community,” says Ace Morreal, founder of the Oneida County Pride Association (OCPA). “But this year feels more urgent as a loud and radical minority is pushing to impede the progress we have made. This year we are not just celebrating our accomplishments, but we are also standing together against those who are trying to push us back. We are coming together in pride.” 

The Oneida County Pride Association is online at: 


Thursday, June 1st

Things kick off on June 1st with the OCPA’s sponsored “Pride in Film Series” at Cinema Capitol in Rome. At 7 pm, there will be a special showing of Milk, the film about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man who was elected to public office and subsequently martyred by an assassin who opposed equal rights for gays and lesbians. This film series is also sponsored by Sage Upstate, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people in Central New York as they age. Sage Upstate is celebrating twenty-five years of serving the needs of LGBTQ+ elders in Upstate New York. You can read more about the Pride Film Series at

June 1st is a historic day for the people of Herkimer County, as the village of Herkimer will be raising the Pride flag at a ceremony in Myers Park located at 99 North Park Place at 6 pm; this will be followed by a potluck picnic under the flag. This event is sponsored by the Herkimer County Pride Alliance, their website is: 


Friday, June 2nd 

Utica celebrates with a Pride flag-raising ceremony at Utica City Hall, 1 Kennedy Plaza, at 10 am. 


Munson’s popular First Friday event returns better than ever for LGBTQIA+ Pride from 5 pm -11 pm with an outdoor evening of live music, food from Knead to Eat Bakery and Cafe, an art talk with Munson President and CEO Anna D’Ambrosio, and cash bar. Visit for more information.


There will also be a family-friendly Drag Story Hour at 8:30 PM at the Treehouse Reading and Arts Center located at 587 Main Street in New York Mills. 


Saturday, June 3rd

MVCC will host a Pride Festival on campus from 10 am – 4 pm. This event is sponsored by the Oneida County Pride Association and will include a Pride Walk at 11 am. 


The Uptown Theater for Creative Arts will host a Pride Drag Show at 8 pm. This event is for people 21 years of age or older. For more information visit:


Sunday, June 4th

The 4th annual Lewis County Community Pride Picnic will take place from 1 – 4 pm at the Lewis County Fairgrounds Pavilion. This event kicks off LGBTQ Pride Month for Northern New York and will feature food, games, raffles, a DJ, and an arts and crafts fair. The fairgrounds are located at 5485 Bostwick St, Lowville, NY. For more information visit: 


Monday, June 6th

Plymouth Congregational Church at 232 E. Onondaga Street in Syracuse will hold an interfaith service with the theme of “Resiliency: Fearless Love.” 


Saturday, June 10th

CNY Pride, based in Syracuse, will hold its Pride Festival and Parage from 11 am to 5 pm at the city’s Inner Harbor Park located at 408-456 Solar St, Syracuse, NY 13204. This day of celebration will feature a Pride Parage from 11 am to 12 pm, starting at Solar Street and leading to the festival. There will also be entertainment from 12:30- 5 pm, and the YWCA of Central New York will host a family fun area along with the Onondaga Public Library and the Rosamund Gifford Zoo. For more information, go to: 


The Little Falls Pride Stride, a charitable event to raise money for Little Falls Community Outreach, will take place at 9 am. There will be a 5k event and a kid’s fun run. For more information visit: 


Tuesday, June 13th

The Colegate University Garden will host Queer Community Garden Day from 5:30 pm – 7 pm. Organizers invite gardeners to “harvest, plant, weed, lounge under the willow tree, and simply connect with other queer folx.” 


Saturday, June 17th

The Cazenovia Pride Parage and Festival will take place in Lakeland Park, 11 Forman Street in Cazenovia from 11:30 am – 8 pm. The theme this year is “Chosen Family,” and organizers say that “you may even meet sone new chosen family members at this event!” For more information go to: or 


Wednesday, June 21st

There will be an Oneida LGBTQIA+ Social at The Blend, located at 111 Main Street, in Oneida from 5- 7 pm. For more information visit:  


Every Pride Month is a reason to celebrate, but this year’s celebrations are extra special for the  Herkimer County Pride Alliance. According to Abby McArthur, 

“HCPA is thrilled to celebrate their first complete year in existence.  We are especially grateful to our community and neighbors for making all of our programs possible. In the last year, we have donated over 30 binders, connected numerous people to services and supports, and continued to bring suicide prevention courses, education, and advocacy throughout our county. To mark our progress, we pay special homage to our trans siblings and to all of the people of color who made us possible all those years ago. We recognize how far we have come while still working to never go backward. ”

Celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ Community is more important than ever this year. With so many ways to do that right here in the Mohawk Valley, everyone can take part in this month of justice, equality, and freedom for all. 


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Ron Klopfanstein
Ron Klopfanstein
Multimedia journalist, news and features editor, and creative content producer for the Utica Phoenix digital platform and 95.5 FM The Heat broadcast and streaming radio.

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