CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — The St. Lawrence River, 1000 Islands community will come together in a new way this June.
For the first time ever, a Pride Month event will be held on the streets of Clayton, New York, to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Titled “River Pride,” the weekend-long celebration has been in the works for a while, and led by local committee member Alex Hazard.
Hazard moved to the North Country back in 2015 and shared that he has felt nothing but acceptance and support from the River community, which is what inspired him to help start River Pride.
“The river community is a loving, accepting, beautiful place, full of people from all sorts of different backgrounds, including the LGBTQ community. And for me, I was a transplant to the area and [the river] community in particular was so loving, so accepting and welcoming to me in so many ways. I want that to be there for everyone,” expressed Hazard.
The event will bring in members of the LGBTQ+ community including John Khoury from Sid’s Gold Request Room in New York City and Vogue Model and Activist Maggie Riser. Hazard shared that he hopes this will remind the community of what Pride Month is all about.
“The origination of pride has such a historical background of a hidden history that is often not taught in schools and forgotten,” Hazard noted. “And so while we’re going to have a blast at River Pride, that is the underlying message of all of this is that we still have a long way to go.”
“River Pride” has been in the works for a while, and had to overcome obstacles brought forward from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hazard shared that he also had to introduce new ideas, such as flying the Pride Flag at Frink Park.
Following approval from the Village of Clayton, he stated that the Pride Flag raising ceremony is what he’s looking forward to most ahead of River Pride weekend.
Stating, “to be able to see families come out, and represent who Clayton is as a community, and who the North Country is as a community, and watch that flag represent that, I think it’s going to be a special moment.”
In conclusion, Hazard shared his excitement and that he would expect “nothing less” from the Clayton and river community.
“To be honest, it’s no surprise. This is exactly what we would expect from the North Country. This is who the North Country is,” state Hazard.
River Pride will take place June 25 through June 27 in the Village of Clayton. A full list of events can be found on the ABC50 Pride 2021 website.