Downtown Bath businesses show their support during Pride Month. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

An outpouring of community and local business support for Bath’s inaugural Pride Festival is an important show of support for community members who may feel alone or scared by the political climate and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, an organizer says.

The festival on Friday, June 16, includes artist booths, food trucks, a drag show and story hour, a raffle, booths for local LGBTQ+ and allied organizations, and activities for kids, such as face painting and games. The celebration will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Front and Centre streets.

The city of Bath painted a rainbow crosswalk on Front Street in honor of the city’s first Pride celebration. A Pride Festival organizer said she was appreciative that the city made the gesture of support. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

Liz Kovarsky, director of the Working Communities Challenge at the Midcoast Youth Center, said her working group came together in late February and questioned why Bath didn’t have its own Pride Festival during June, which is Pride Month all over the world.

The Working Communities Challenge Initiative is centered around youth mental health and building a strong and connected community, and Kovarsky felt that LGBTQ+ Pride was important to that mission, she said.

“We’ve gotten a clear message from young folks in our area that they don’t feel like they belong. We thought, what better way to show an underserved part of our population that they do belong?” she said, adding that a sense of belonging is vital to a young person’s well-being.

So planning for the city’s first Pride Festival began.


Local organizations and businesses embraced the idea of a festival and have funded and promoted it and donated to the raffle, Kovarsky said.

“So far, the community response has been amazing. We haven’t received one bit of pushback yet,” she said.

“With the climate nationally around anti-trans bills and a lot of politics that have unnecessarily been placed on human beings who identify as LGBTQ+, this is a way for us to say that we don’t support that, we support you as humans,” she said. 

While they are taking precautions and preparing for potential issues to arise, she said, plans so far gone off without a hitch.

“I don’t live in a cave so I understand there’s always fear of what people who don’t respect LGBT communities will do, but I’m hoping it will go really positively,” she said.

The young people she’s spoken to are excited and appreciative that Pride will be recognized in their own town, she said. “To me, it’s like this is the bare minimum we could do.”


Claire Berkowitz, president of Midcoast Community Action, said she’s happy to be involved in the festival and glad for all the community support.

“So many businesses have come forward who are displaying flags and making their storefronts celebratory for Pride, and there’s a real commitment to being an inclusive community.” 

As a member of a Midcoast Community Action subcommittee dedicated to culture, Berkowitz said she wanted to be involved because the festival aligns with her group’s mission.

“We’ve identified that there are youth in the community that have struggles with mental health, and when you look at the data, LGBT youth have higher rates of bullying, hopelessness and suicide,” she said.

Berkowitz said she hopes this event will “show youth and the next generation that they matter and this community stands with them.”

In addition to showing up for the youth, it’s also about celebration and fun, she said.

“There’s not enough joy in our world, and I think celebration is important to say that we all matter,” she said.

“It’s a family-friendly event, appropriate for all ages,” said Kovarsky. “There’s stuff for kids all the way up through adulthood.”

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