Rochester Pride Parade and Festival returning this year

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — After a two-year hiatus, a major event is coming back to Rochester this summer.

ROC Pride Collective is hosting the annual Rochester Pride Parade and Festival. Not only is this major event coming back after a two-year break, but it is also celebrating a major milestone: 50 years of tradition here in the Rochester area.

“Fifty years ago the first pride picnic happened in Genesee Valley Park, and I think it’s important to recognize that acknowledge that and celebrate the long history of LGTBQ activism that Rochester has,” said ROC Pride Collective Co-Chair Sam Brett. “There’s a rich history there. In Rochester, the gay liberation front didn’t get started until the 70s. 1972 was the first pride picnic that was organized in the area.”

Now, organizers say this golden anniversary will have even more meaning, especially after enduring a global pandemic.

“We really didn’t, as a community, have an opportunity to come together in the ways that we have historically,” said ROC Pride Collective Co-Chair Susanna Speed. “Pride is a very meaningful time for people so it was a loss for the community.”

“What’s great about Rochester Pride is that it’s multigenerational, so we have a lot of the pioneers of pride who are still in the area and still active in the community. But, it’s also good to have newer generations come and acknowledge that history,” Brett said.

So, what can attendees expect this year?

“Folks can expect a similar feel the parade is going to be the same route down Park Avenue and the festival at Cobbs Hill like in years past. It’s going to be that same air of celebration and fun and also honoring our history,” Speed said.

“We do plan to have celebrations of those trailblazers, doing a lot of recognitions and presentations. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s great to see our community come together,” Brett added.

The parade will be held on Saturday, July 16, and the festival will take place at Cobbs Hill. Organizers say it is hard to tell at the moment what COVID requirements there will be for the events, but it’s something they will keep an eye out for as time goes on.