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Peekskill to Host Second Annual Family ‘Pride in the Park’

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Peekskill Pride Inc’s Pride in the Park will be held this Saturday afternoon for the second time at Pugsley Park, featuring a wide variety of activities, music, performances and vendors.
By Em Stangarone

Around the world, millions gather every June for Pride Month to celebrate, support and lift up the LGBTQIA+ community, continuing the fight for acceptance for people of all genders and different sexual orientations. Among this year’s celebrations is Peekskill Pride Inc’s second annual Pride in the Park, to be held at Pugsley Park on Main Street this Saturday, June 25 from 1 to 5 p.m.

The event welcomes everyone – LGBTQIA+ folks, allies, friends and family alike – for a fun-filled day.

With local drag performer Dotty Spartans serving as master of ceremonies, the main stage will feature the headlining drag act by Evita Loca, Drag Queen Story Time with Kitten Ka’Boodlez, music, a play reading, spoken word performances and more. This year’s event also includes performers from Westchester Circus Arts, entertaining visitors throughout the day. 

“To work together as a community, we must first get to know one another,” said Peekskill Pride President Brian Fassett. “We hope that this year’s Pride event will be an introduction to many of our new LGBTQIA+ neighbors and be a rousing community success.”

Children can try their hand at circus tricks and make their own flags in a craft activity led by Abrakadoodle. The Pet Pride booth returns this year, where visitors who dress their pets for Pride can have a photo taken and their pet’s look judged by local celebrity judges for prizes.

No food vendors will be in the park, but visitors are encouraged to bring food to picnic or they can find something to eat at the nearby farmers market or any of the downtown restaurants.

Peekskill Pride has partnered with multiple sponsors and vendors who will be on hand to provide information about local real estate, health and wellness, recycling and LGBTQIA+ services. Peekskill’s Human Relations Commission will also be attending in support and to speak with the community. 

Peekskill Pride Inc, the organization running Pride in the Park and many other Pride events in the city, began as a group of like-minded friends looking to create community and support. It was officially incorporated as a nonprofit in 2019. Its mission is to lead community efforts for LGBTQIA+ advocacy, inclusion, education and celebration by bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together.

Pride in the Park was designed in response to Peekskill’s growing LGBTQIA+ community in recent years. Organizers and Peekskill officials agreed that last June’s inaugural event was a big hit.

“Even though the rains came and tried to wash us out, people did not leave,” Fassett said. “This event proved our community needed to be here.”

“I am one proud mayor to see events like Pride in the Park being hosted here in our great City of Peekskill,” Mayor Vivian McKenzie said. “It means we are an inclusive, diverse and accepting city that welcomes and celebrates everyone.” 

Fassett said that Pride promotes self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility for everyone.

“Pride Month takes on greater meaning than it has since the days of Stonewall,” said Fassett, citing attacks around the world against the LGBTQIA+ community. “We must all continue the progress of our brothers and sisters who fought so hard to get us to where we are today, as we are so often reminded of how far we have to go.”

“Our LGBTQIA+ youth must see adults just like them, respected elected officials, successful business people and artists who are out and proud,” he added. “And it is essential that they know we are here to support them.”

Peekskill Pride and city representatives hope that as the community grows, so will the Pride celebrations that support it.

“A healthy city can only prosper when we are genuinely aware of how vital it is to be accepting of all,” Fassett said. “Peekskill has so much to offer; we are just another cog in that wheel.”

More information about the event can be found at www.peekskillpride.org and on Instagram, @peekskill_pride.

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