Vermont’s annual Pride celebration has been moved to September for the first time in order to better include Vermont’s large student population and foliage tourists. The festivities will include a cruise on Lake Champlain on Friday, Sept. 21, a parade through downtown Burlington as well as a festival, NOH8 Campaign photoshoot, and food and travel expo in Burlington’s Battery Park on Saturday, Sept. 22.
The annual Pride Cruise has been a highlight of Vermont’s Pride season since 1993. It is sponsored by Vermont Gay Social Alternatives, Vermont’s premier LGBT social organization, and promises to be an evening filled with dancing and merrymaking featuring hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and entertainment by the House of LeMay and DJ Veena. It will be held on the Lake Champlain Ferry, which departs at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21 from the King Street Docks in Burlington. Tickets can be purchased online at www.vgsa.com.
The Pride Parade will start at noon on Saturday, Sept. 22, beginning at the bottom of Church Street and winding all the way to the Pride Festival site at Battery Park. With students, families, and foliage tourists in town, a record-breaking turnout is expected to view the colorful parade of floats, performers, and marchers of all kinds. The festival itself will last from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and include music and entertainment in the Battery Park bandshell, vendors, family, youth and activity tents, and community resources.
Produced by the Vermont Gay Tourism Association, the Northern Decadence Food & Travel Expo will take place during the Pride Festival at Battery Park on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Northern Decadence will showcase LGBT-friendly businesses from across Vermont and include food and wine samples, a silent auction, cooking demonstrations, and the popular Decadent Cupcake Competition. Tickets are $5 for adults; children 12 and under are free.
A special addition this year celebration is the NOH8 Campaign, which will hold an open photoshoot on September 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. as part of Pride Vermont. NOH8 is a photographic silent protest created as a response to the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which stripped same-sex couples of equal marriage rights.
Amtrak is offering a special “Visit Vermont” 20% discount through Oct. 31, for travel to any Vermont station. Additionally, Burlington International Airport offers service from a number of major cities on airlines such as JetBlue and Delta which have strong ties to the LGBT community.
More information on visiting gay-friendly Vermont is available at www.vermontvacation.com/LGBT.