LEWISTON — Great Falls Pride held its first march Sunday, beginning at Great Falls Plaza in Auburn and ending at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston.

Following the march, Great Falls Pride held its first festival along Oxford Street in Lewiston, near the weekly farmers’ market.

Originally L-A Pride, Great Falls Pride took over for its first year with local Alex Pine at the helm of the new organization. Pine said L-A Pride had held an event every year since 2007, and some of the people from that organization carried over into the new one.

“We sort of think that this is a rebirth, here, a version 2.0,” Pine said. “We wanted this event to bring people together to build a community, to find people a safe space to share, borrow and have fun. Love — that’s what it’s all about.”

Jess Sullivan and Katherine Pullham attend the Great Falls Pride Festival on Sunday at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston. The women, who are transgender, say they moved to the area over the weekend and came to participate in the local event. “We feel very welcomed,” Sullivan says. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

The event hosted about 60 vendors, Pine said, including the farmers’ market stalls which continued operating in support of the event.

Pine estimated more than 200 Pride marchers and festivalgoers, with numbers at the festival that were closer to 1,000, including farmers’ market patrons, according to Gia Drew, the executive director of EqualityMaine.


Drew, a Lewiston resident in the early 2000s, said times have changed and Lewiston and Auburn are no longer unsafe places for those in the LGBTQ community.

“Coming here today felt so great,” Drew said, adding that the changes give her hope. “I think Pride is a special month where maybe some folks who wouldn’t normally come out do come out because they feel a little safer coming to these events. We want to make sure that everyone who is LGBTQ+ can exist every day of the year, not just during.”

Great Falls Pride kicks off Pride Week with a parade Sunday from Great Falls Plaza in Auburn to Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston. Each day of the week features a queer-friendly event, including kickball, a wine tasting, a printmaking class, storytelling and a queer Dungeons & Dragons tournament. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Former defense attorney and U.S. Senate candidate Bre Danvers-Kidman was in attendance with MaineTransNet, an organization dedicated to the well-being and empowerment of transgender people. Danvers-Kidman, the organization’s new executive director, aims to get more hands on with community events and outreach. They said many people at MaineTransNet live in Lewiston.

“MaineTransNet really loves pride — and Lewiston,” Danvers-Kidman said. “I think the thing that I like most about L-A Pride is that the organizers really like keep the spirit of pride at the center. This is not a rainbow capitalism march with floats. This is people walking the streets (and) chanting for rights. People gathering and celebrating in the park. That’s just really beautiful.”

Great Falls Pride is planning to hold several events through June 8, including a queer board game night, a Pride Bike Ride with Queers in Gear, a printmaking workshop, a community kickball game, wine tasting, Dungeons & Dragons and a Saturday social.

For a list of the events and times, see www.greatfallspride.org.

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