Belfast Has Pride takes over Steamboat Landing for second annual celebration

Posted:  Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 3:45pm

BELFAST — Downtown residents and patrons were treated to a street filled with rainbows, laughter and lots of smiles as the second annual Belfast Has Pride Parade kicked off an all day festival Saturday morning, June 10. 

The parade, which grew considerably from last year, began at Belfast Area High School before heading down Main Street toward Steamboat Landing. 

Belfast Has Pride was founded in 2015 by Rachel Epperly and her wife, MaKayla Reed, after the two noticed that there were no LBGT Pride Month events in the area. The first parade and festival, held June 11, last year, created an opportunity for the group to formally introduce themselves to the town. 

This year’s event featured an incredible array of activities for the large crowd, from the athletic to the artistic, there was something for everyone. 

Epperly and Reed took to the gazebo at the festival’s start, to thank sponsors and also to speak about the importance of the event. 

State Representative Erin Herbig, who was at last year’s celebration, was unable to attend this time, though she did send a message to the gathered crowd. That messsage read:

“I’m so sorry I couldn’t be with you today. While I’d much rather be with you instead of negotiating the state budget, please know how incredibly grateful I am to the organizers of this event and each one of you. Your bravery, love and yes, pride, have made Belfast a kinder, more welcoming place for every family and generations to come. Thank you for helping make Maine a better state and it remains my honor to represent you.”

Belfast City Councilor Eric Sanders took to the stage, reminding the crowd that the City Council continues to fully support Belfast Has Pride, their events and endeavors. 

In addition to a handful of speakers, Reed and Epperly also presented this year’s winner of the Mitzi Lichtman Scholarship. The scholarship is named after the local LGBT rights advocate who passed away last year.

Emily Harriman, a soon-to-be Belfast Area High School graduate, was the recipient of the 2017 scholarship. Harriman is responsible for the creation of the school’s Gay Straight Trans Alliance and plans to study history at the University of Maine Orono this fall. 

After the presentations and speeches concluded, the large crowd broke up and moved off toward one of their many options. 

Some of those options included: music by DJ Dennis, karaoke with Marissa, face painting, a bouncy house, free hair cuts and HIV testing, and several food options. There is also a dance party tonight at the Belfast Dance Studio, from 8-10 p.m.

With clear skies, cool breezes and good spirits aplenty, this waterfront activity is one to remember.

To see pictures from the festival click here.  

Erica Thoms can be reached at