Hartford Pride Festival Returning to the Streets with a Big Outdoor Party
Christopher Arnott
Sep 5, 2022

The Hartford Pride Festival is taking it back to the streets. Trumbull Street will be closed between Church Street and Asylum Street on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., with the event’s main stage at the corner of Trumbull and Pratt. Around a hundred information and vendor booths will line the street. It’s a big change from last year, when Hartford Pride was held in Bushnell Park, and the year before, when because of the pandemic the celebration was mostly online.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Together We Will Persevere.” Entertainment headliners are disco diva CeCe Peniston, whose hits include “Finally,” “Keep On Walkin’,” “Stoopid!” and “Keep on Flossing;” and Willie Gomez, who became an all-around pop artist after touring as a dancer with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry and other major stars.

The festival also offers a showcase of many of Connecticut’s best-known drag queens: Kenya Mone Heart, Mia E Z’Lay, Miss Rozzz, Natalia Fierce, Samantha Chanel, Sasha Montenegro, Xiomarie LaBeija, Lady Tatiana and hostess Robin Fierce. Among the other attractions is an interactive play area for children provided by LEGO.

Information booths will help attendees learn about LGBTQ+ organizations in the state as well as about compelling health issues in the community such as depression. The Connecticut Department of Public Health will be educating about COVID-19 and monkeypox as well as offering vaccinations.

In recent years Hartford Pride added online events to its schedule. On Thursday at 6 p.m. the organization is offering a talk on “Monkeypox Stigma for LGBTQ+ and People of Color” at

Pride celebrations have been held in Hartford for decades. This one was started more than a dozen years ago and is overseen by the nonprofit Hartford Pride organization in conjunction with Connecticut Latinos Achieving Rights and Opportunities (CLARO).

Many cities hold major Pride events in June, which is internationally known as Pride Month. The fall is also a popular time for major LGBTQ+ events, however. Bisexual Awareness Week and Celebrate Bisexuality Day and Ally Week are all observed in September. October is LGBTQA+ History Month, Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day, and Oct. 26 is Intersex Awareness Day. Transgender Awareness Week, the Intersex Day of Remembrance and the International Transgender Day of Remembrance are all in November.

In addition, September is National Hispanic Heritage Month, heightening CLARO and Willie Gomez’s involvement in the Pride Festival. Gomez was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Miami.

“It’s a small dedicated group that has been making this happen every year,” says former Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, a founding member of CLARO and a festival volunteer.

“The Hartford Pride celebration is all about acceptance, inclusion and fun,” said Charlie Ortiz, Hartford Pride Celebration Founder, in a statement. “It allows us to come together to celebrate the progress we’ve made as a community. It energizes us in order to respond with love and activism when discriminatory laws and policies are put forth. Safety and wellbeing are always a priority, and we look forward to welcoming back all of our communities.”

The Hartford Pride Festival & Concert happens Sept. 10 from noon to 6 p.m. on Trumbull Street between Church and Asylum in downtown Hartford. Admission is free.

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