Brunswick Pride will celebrate its third year of festivities in the region. The event, which includes a festival on June 8 and a community bike ride on June 9, aims to bring people together, said Pride Committee member the Rev. Dr. Kharma Amos. Kristian Moravec / The Times Record

Though the Midcoast is far from New York City — the birthplace of Pride — festivities to commemorate the month are in full swing in the Brunswick area.

Though much of what local Pride committees have planned contrasts starkly against the holiday’s (or, rather, holi-month’s) riot roots, this year’s events are set to offer family-friendly fun and opportunities for locals to connect with queer-owned and operated businesses.

Pride — now known for its lighthearted parties and rainbow decor — was birthed in the wake of the deadly riots in 1969 as a protest against police raids on gay bars in New York City. A march one year later to commemorate the uprising became a tradition known as Gay Pride and, eventually, just Pride.

This year’s colorful celebrations, however, come as rights and safety for LGBTQ+ groups are threatened across the country. In Maine, LGBTQ+ youth suffer from anxiety and depression at high rates due to mistreatment and stigmatization, according to The Trevor Project. Incidents such as a petition in Maine School Administrative District 75 against a policy protecting transgender students from bullying or harassment or pushback against drag performances in Windham are just recent examples.

Increased social tension, said the Rev. Dr. Kharma Amos, a committee member with Brunswick Pride and minister at the Brunswick Unitarian Universalist Church, makes celebrating the month all the more important.

“In the increasingly polarized world that we inhabit, this kind of event that we’re inviting people to come [to] and celebrate across difference is so important to our larger community well beyond the LGBTQ community,” Amos said. “So this is one of those opportunities when we hope people will show up for that community spirit that is affirming to everybody.”


Commemorating Pride

As the first week of June comes to a close, here are just a few ways to find community connection and celebrate Pride in the Brunswick area.

Drag performer Sarah Tonin sings along to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” at the Brunswick Pride Festival in 2023. Jason Claffey / The Times Record file photo

Brunswick’s Third Annual Pride Festival

Pride celebrations in Brunswick have a short but quickly growing presence in the Midcoast. This marks the town’s third round of Pride festivities.

“I have been a professional queer for 30 years and so I was eager to engage [when I moved here],” Amos said. “It’s been part of my life and ministry for all those years, and it was so refreshing to see a brand-new festival emerge in a smaller town.”

The June 8 festival, which will be held at the Town Mall in downtown Brunswick, will include an artist market featuring nearly 30 creatives. Shoppers can also peruse the 62 businesses tabling the event, including queer-owned businesses such as the metaphysical Raven & Crow, a Brunswick business that recently closed its brick-and-mortar shop.

Entertainment will be provided throughout the day, ranging from drag performances by local queens and kings to the first Brunswick Pride Community Choir.


“It is for all ages — it is family friendly,” Amos said.

The celebration at the Town Mall starts at noon and will run to 5 p.m.

Pride Ride

Brunswick Pride will also host its Pride Ride the next day, Sunday, June 9.

Kicking off at 10 a.m., cyclists — who are encouraged to dress up and decorate their bikes — will get a police escort down Maine Street in Brunswick. The approximately 10-mile journey will stop by places like Wild Oats Bakery & Café and Moderation Brewing Company for drinks (nonalcoholic options will be provided).

No registration is required, and Amos said that those not riding can come cheer on riders.


This event is contingent on whether it rains, so be sure to check Brunswick Pride’s Facebook and Instagram for updates.

The Abbey, a queer-owned café that recently opened, will host a Pride party on June 14. Courtesy of The Abbey

PRIDE Midsummer Masquerade Party (21-plus)

Dance party, anyone?

The Abbey, a recently opened, queer-owned Brunswick business on Maine Street, will host its first Pride event in the town on June 14. The owners described the theme as Midsummer Masquerade, starting with a theme-appropriate costume contest at 7 p.m. and ending with a drag show and 10 p.m. dance party at Bolo’s, which is just down the street and around the corner.

“Bring your flora! Bring your fauna! It’s a big gay masquerade celebrating the pride we have all year!”, the café wrote in an Instagram post.

The costume contest will be hosted by Ophelia Johnson, a spunky drag queen based in Portland, and will be paired with a cocktail hour at The Abbey. The afterparty will be mixed by DJ Dr. Fuzz, a Midcoast retro vinyl DJ.


Tickets, which are only $15, must be reserved in advance. Those interested in attending can find tickets at Some of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated back to the Brunswick Pride Committee, co-owner Connor Scott said.

This event is 21-plus.

Gulf of Maine Books, which is located on Maine Street in Brunswick, set up a special display for LGBTQ+-related books. The titles, owner Gary Lawless said, is something that the store provides all the time. Kristian Moravec / The Times Record

Gulf of Maine Books

Though this shop is not technically hosting any events, the independent bookstore on Maine Street is highlighting books on the LGBTQ+ community this month, continuing its long-running tradition of displaying titles that cover marginalized groups.

“We’re highlighting books that we always carry,” owner Gary Lawless said.

Since the independent bookshop opened in 1979, it has offered a wide selection of books while making a concerted effort to sell ones that are often not represented in mainstream bookstores or libraries. Lawless said that providing titles related to the LGBTQ+ history and experience has been popular, especially since many have a hard time finding books on these topics elsewhere.


“It’s just always made sense to support that community of folks,” he said.

The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m.

The repainted rainbow crosswalk at the corner of Lombard and Front streets as the city gears up for the second annual Bath Pride. “As we prepare to celebrate our city’s annual Pride event on June 14, we stand together to honor the rich diversity and vibrant spirit of our LGBTQ+ community,” said Bath City Council chairperson Mary Ellen Bell. “This year, we are proud to once again paint the crosswalk at Lombard and Front Street in rainbow colors.”  Paul Bagnall / The Times Record

Bath Pride

Bath Pride is returning with the expectation of being a bigger event than last year’s gathering. 

“I am looking forward to the community connections and a super safe and enjoyable place for all of the folks in the neighborhood — queer or not — to be together during Pride,” Bath Pride volunteer Gila Cohen-Shaw said. 

The Bath Pride artists and resource tables will be set up and ready at 4 p.m., with a yoga session in the freight shed taught by local yoga teacher Johnna Stanton from 4:30-5:30 p.m. 


Local Bath resident Tony Dancer will perform a dance performance followed by a four-member drag performance with Seren Serenity, Cashay Banks, Asster Rico and Dynah Thirst. The jam-packed event will also feature food trucks, queer artists and a drag story time hour. 

“I am mostly excited about having Pride for the second year in a row,” said Woolwich resident Sam Hallowell. “As someone that grew up in the Midcoast, it’s really meaningful that a small group of people decided last year that [Bath Pride] was going to happen.”

The second annual Bath Pride is set for June 14 at Waterfront Park from 4-7 p.m., rain or shine. 

Paul Bagnall contributed to this story.

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