Maine is bursting with Pride this month.

Every June, to mark the 1969 Stonewall Uprising following the police raid of a New York City gay bar and recognize its role in advancing gay rights, events are held to celebrate the LGBTQ community.

This year, there are public events, parades and festivals planned for towns all over Maine, more than the state has seen in a long time. Some two dozen events around the state are listed on the Out Maine website, and there are many other Pride celebrations planned for bars, clubs or other smaller venues.

There may be at least a couple reasons for this. Some locales and groups haven’t hosted Pride events in a couple years because of the pandemic – including the Pride Portland parade and festival. Plus, this year, there have been high-profile efforts in several states to restrict schools and teachers from discussing topics of gender identity or sexual orientation, prompting a wave of resistance and activity from LGBTQ activists.

While Pride celebrations have long been held in the state’s larger cities, like Portland and Bangor, in the past year or two, they’ve popped up in smaller and more remote places like Bucksport, Presque Isle and Newcastle, said Sue Campbell, interim executive director of Out Maine, which supports LGBTQ+ youth and their families. One of several new Pride celebrations in Maine this year is a Pride Weekend in late June at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport.

“There has been a lot of legislation and pushback lately. Nobody has said that is the reason (for more Pride events), but it could be people simply want to support people in the LGBTQ community,” said Campbell, who has attended several Pride events in Maine already this month. “It’s incredible how well-attended these are.”

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Here are some highlights among the Pride events scheduled around the state for the rest of the month.

Congress Street will be alive with movement during the Pride Portland parade Saturday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

IT’S A COMEBACK

Pride Portland’s annual parade and festival have not been held since June 2019. That event attracted an estimated crowd of more than 10,000 people, making it the largest Pride Portland to date. This year’s comeback edition of Pride Portland is scheduled for Saturday, with the parade stepping off from Monument Square downtown at 1 p.m. The hour-long parade follows Congress Street to Congress Square, then heads down High Street to Park Avenue and Deering Oaks. That’s where the festival takes place, from 1-5 p.m.

More than 90 groups have registered for the parade and more than 500 people are expected to march, organizers say. As is tradition, the group Dykes on Bikes will lead the parade, and there will be some 20 floats or vehicles. The festival will have a main stage with live performances, hosted by drag performers Gigi Gabor and Danielle Dior. There will also be food vendors and food trucks, and a beer garden. For more information go to prideportland.org.

PRIDE RIDES

Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport is hosting its first Pride Weekend, June 25-26. There will be live music and entertainment, food, lawn games, face painting and rides on trolleys decorated with rainbow-colored bunting. Admission including trolley rides is $6 to $13, free for children 2 and under. And $3 from every admission ticket will be donated to Out Maine, as will proceeds from a raffle. For more information, go to trolleymuseum.org.

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Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad in Portland is also hosting Pride rides, on Friday. They’ll have Pride Trains departing the station next to Ocean Gateway on the waterfront at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. The 40-minute ride takes passengers along Casco Bay and near the Eastern Promenade. On board will be music by a DJ and Pride-themed decorations. The train stops halfway through the journey at the Grand Trunk Railway swing bridge, where people can get out for a few minutes. Coach-class ticket prices are $15, $13 for seniors age 60 and older, $9 for ages 3-12, and free for kids 2 and under. For more information, go to mainenarrowgauge.org.

Ride the trolleys and support LGBTQ+ youth during Pride Weekend at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, June 25-26. Photo courtesy of Seashore Trolley Museum

SEE A MOVIE OUT

One of the great drag queens films “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (1994) will be shown outdoors at the Shotwell Drive-In in Rockport on June 25. The event is co-presented by Out Maine and Points North Institute, whose programs include the annual Camden International Film Festival. The film tells the story of three showgirls/drag queens on a four-week performance tour in rural Australia. It features over-the-top Academy Award-winning costume design and a soundtrack of classic dance and pop tunes like Gloria Gaynor’s  “I Will Survive” and ABBA’s “Mamma Mia.” Tickets online are $22.05. For more information, go to pointsnorthinstitute.org.

TWO IN A ROW

Bucksport Pride is hosting its second annual Pride celebration on Saturday from 2-9:30 p.m., on the town’s waterfront. The event has a full schedule of live entertainment, including Portland poet and hip-hop artist Myles Bullen, Passamaquoddy artist Geo Neptune, rock band Random Ideas, bluegrass trio 5th fret, DJ Chipmunk and others. There will also be free pizza (thanks to donations from several area Unitarian Universalist churches), speakers and vendors. For more information, go to Facebook: Bucksport Pride.

“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” will be shown at Shotwell Drive-In in Rockport on June 25. Photo by Anna Finocchiaro

COASTAL INCLUSION

All month there are two art-centered Pride Events happening on the Midcoast. One is the Youth Pride Art Show, through June 30, at Rock City Cafe in Rockland, curated by the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. The other is a Pride Walk at the Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport, where writings, art and photos by LGBTQ+ and allied youth will be on view in 16 display cases along the trail. It’s also on view through June 30. For more information, go to outmaine.org.

If you want to go even further up the coast for some Pride celebrations, consider Downeast Pride in Eastport and Lubec, June 24-26. The three-day event includes art events, story times, a concert, a showing of the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a drag brunch and more. For more information, go to downeastrainbowalliance.com. 

Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport is hosting Pride Weekend June 25-26. Photo courtesy of Seashore Trolley Museum


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