WINDHAM, N.H. — It was an afternoon of showing pride.
And also acceptance, love, friendship and community.
The first Pride Festival in Windham filled the back lawn at the Searles School and Chapel Saturday, joining local vendors, organizations, and supporters together for an event filled with music, stories, food, and community spirit.
The festival was hosted by Windham Citizens for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a progressive organization formed following a Black Lives Matter rally held in the community, with supporters hoping to keep the momentum going to encourage awareness for inclusion and acceptance through service and education.
Emceed by Windham native Sam Cohen, the afternoon's performance schedule included music by the New Hampshire Gay Men's Chorus, a self-defense presentation by Professional Martial Arts, a sing-a-long with Granite State Music Therapy, and a "drag story time" presented by Michael McMahon performing as Clara Divine.
Festival organizer Stephanie Lohret said bringing the Pride Festival to Windham was a supportive effort among many who said this type of event was ready for Windham — and Windham was ready as well.
"The support we got from the community was incredible" Lohret said. "This town was more than ready."
Lohret added the afternoon's energy was great.
"It's just love and acceptance," she said.
Steven Lawlor-Jones said the day showed how much Windham supports diversity.
"In a town with less than 15,000, this is extraordinary," he said. "These people are a powerhouse and it's only growing."