HALLOWELL — Rainbow flags marked the driveway into Granite City Park on Saturday, where Brian Kaufman donned a rainbow flag under his fur vest and put on a horned Viking helmet with long blond braids.

He was out to attract attention for his booth, which was part of the three-day Hallowell LGBTQ Pride festival. The celebration was held in conjunction with LGBTQ Pride. Those letters stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning.

Kaufman was promoting his Viking-themed “Rainbow Quest!” board game, which is billed as “the essential new LBGT board game for several school’s GSA (Gay Straight Alliance), family game nights & diversity trainings.”

Kaufman, of Augusta, developed it with Martin Swinger, and Kaufman was taking pre-orders and looking for crowd-funding of $30,000 to get it manufactured.

“It celebrates LGBT icons and heroes,” he said, adding that when he was younger, he had to go to the library to find those heroes.

“Ideally, I want people to know this resource exists.”

More information on the game is available at www.rainbowquest.net and on Facebook at RainbowQuestgame.

On Sunday, Kaufman planned to be in New York City for the NYC Pride March, and when he’s not promoting his game or traveling, he is at the University of Maine at Farmington, where he is an associate professor of psychology.

In the adjacent booth, Kendra Finnegan, district youth coordinator for Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, hoped to spur youths’ interest in a summer program that would empower them “to use their voices to become activists.”

Chris Vallee, an organizer of Hallowell’s inaugural LGBTQ Pride festival Saturday, says that the event was held to encourage visitors to come to the community. Pride activities started Friday and conclude on Sunday. Photo by Elise Klysa

She was at the Hallowell Pride festival in particular, she said, because she wants to help support LGBT students and to reduce the disparities between non-LGBT and LGBT students as reflected in the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey 2017. Responses from that survey report that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth were more likely to smoke cigarettes and use marijuana and alcohol and drugs than their counterparts and that they were more likely to be sad or hopeless and to consider suicide.

Finnegan said teenagers interested in the four-week summer program, which offers some stipends, can find applications on the organization’s Facebook page.

Chris Vallee, one of four organizers of Hallowell’s Pride celebration, pronounced Friday night’s kickoff activities “awesome – all the bars were basically slammed.”

Speaking at the Quarry Tap Room, one of his businesses in Hallowell, he predicted, “Next year it will be quadruple – organizers, activities and visibility.”

He said it took this year’s organizers four months to arrange the city’s pride fest. “We’re just trying to do activities to help downtown during the construction,” Vallee said. “We’ve been talking about doing a Hallowell Pride festival for at least a dozen years.”

Brian Kaufman wears a rainbow flag Saturday as part of Hallowell LGBTQ Pride festivities. Kaufman, of Augusta, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Maine at Farmington, staffs a table promoting a board game he developed to initiate conversations concerning gay issues. Photo by Elise Klysa

Water Street is undergoing major reconstruction and traffic is currently restricted to one way northbound. Cyclone fencing that separates businesses and pedestrians from the passing traffic displayed a number of festival-related banners.

The festival was to close Sunday morning with a Rainbow Meet Up Brunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Slates Restaurant and a Bloody Mary Hangover Dance Party from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Quarry Tap Room.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams