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North Attleborough Pride Festival returns for third year

In 2022, North Attleborough saw its first locally-organized Pride Festival, a celebration of all that is Pride Month.

Now, in 2024, Sarah Cenedella said she has seen a genuine investment by the town in this annual event.

“It means a lot to me that our core team continues to stay strong and come back and work every year,” said Cenedella, chair of the Pride Festival Committee.

The Pride Festival will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2-6 p.m. at Veterans Park in North Attleborough. This event has drawn hundreds of people from North Attleborough and surrounding towns to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning, along with intersex, and asexual or allies. The + stands for those who do not identify under those terms).

Cenedella said the event will be similar to previous years, with live music from the Attleboro School of Rock, DJ Purple Wave and the band Phenidate, as well as drag queens for some family-friendly performances.

Cenedella said the North Attleborough High School band will kick off the event, and there will be several food trucks.

The local YMCA will also be getting involved, and there will be roughly 60 vendors, including many local community organizations and churches, along with groups like the Mass Commission of LGBTQ, the Coalition for Social Justice Education Fund, and the NAMS Iris Club, which supports LGBTQ awareness. Several speakers will also be there, although the final details are still being ironed out.

Last year, a large ‘N’ was added to the event, and people covered it with handprints in a variety of colors. Cenedella said it’s been kept at NAHS since then.

“I can’t wait to see the Big N over there,” she said.

Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Americans. Cenedella said that while Pride Month is important, people being able to be themselves authentically is something that should be celebrated all the time.

Cenedella said that after three years, there is a lot of familiarity into how the event is run, and the process has become somewhat easier as a result. She added that there is a core group of 10-15 volunteers, and they take on different tasks through the festival’s six different committees. Another dozen volunteers will help with the event itself. She added that those who help run the festival have become good friends and formed lasting relationships.

“We’re not starting from scratch anymore,” she said. “A lot we know how to do.”

Sarah Stone, who runs Our Open Umbrella and is also among the organizers for the Pride Festival, said that the community has really embraced the festival and any pushback has been very minimal.

“I’m proud to support the event because it’s such a great event,” Stone said. “It warms my heart to be able to support all kids.”

When asked about the Pride Festival’s impact, Cenedella said that it has come to celebrate the community and allows people to be who they want to be.

“Which everyone should be able to do,” she said. “We want to make a safe town. People should be free to be their authentic selves.”

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