Contributing Author: Jeanette Hamilton
sponsored by St. Paul's on the Green
Published: July 30, 2014
On June 14th, Matthews Park was a bit more colorful than usual, thanks to Triangle Community Center. That sunny Saturday the local community, vendors, musicians, and plenty of rainbows lit up the venue.
The first Pride in the Park was a hit with Norwalk’s LGBTQ+ community. Attendees, TCC staff, and sponsors all agree that Pride in the Park was a success for TCC and a fun time for local residents of all ages.
“I would look around and see smiling faces, celebrating and hula hooping,” says Erik Anderson, a volunteer for the event.
Pride in the Park was full of local vendors and nonprofits, and family entertainment in the forms of face painting, hula hooping, and musical performances, and even a few special guests, including Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Jim Himes.
“It was a very good time, and there were also some really useful displays on things like HIV testing and other public service presentations that I thought were terrific,” says Congressman Jim Himes.
Musicians featured at the event were Jipsta, That Virginia, Lady Tita, Nilsa, and Lucia Virginity.
“We’d like to try to get another headliner [for next year], maybe even a bigger name than we had this year. We think they’ll do a good job in attracting more of a crowd and helping with the turnout,” says Executive Director Anthony Crisci..
There were also two dozen vendors tabling the event, including the event's sponsors General Electric, TD Bank, Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project, HIV=, and many more.
More than 400 individuals throughout the day enjoyed those performers and vendors, including families with small children, and young adults, according to Molly Gaumer, 18, intern for TCC and photographer for the event.
“They all seemed very happy and open about the event. There was a dad there with his two kids, and by the end of their tour around the tents, the kids were covered in pride memorabilia,” says Gaumer.
Pride in the Park helped expose the vendors’ acceptance and love of those families and young adults in attendance.
“It really showed that a major employer in the Fairfield County area, GE, is open and wants to be an employer for LGBT people,” says Matt Brooks, Director of HR Reporting and Analytics at GE and TCC board member.
Brooks brought the idea of sponsoring the event to GE, which was excited about the opportunity.
TCC was very happy with the way the event transpired. Joe Federici was in charge of planning Pride in the Park, serving as TCC’s Pride Coordinator over a six-week period.
“It was a great success regardless. I was very happy with the end result,” says Federici.
Federici could not have executed the plan had it not been for the help of the TCC’s volunteers, 50 of whom helped on the day of the event.
“I’m most proud of all the support I got from the TCC and all the volunteers. They were indispensable,” says Federici.
Pride in the Park was a clear success, and many vendors and attendees are looking forward to next year’s event.
“We definitely achieved all our goals for the event as an organization. We’re very happy about that,” says Crisci.
Pride in the Park was made possible by major sponsors including GE, TD Bank, World Heath Clinicians, MFAP, and Prudential.