LOWVILLE — As with many annual events, the Lewis County Pride Picnic has pressed play again on the third gathering of its kind after a pandemic pause last year.

On Sunday, the picnic will be held in the Forest Park Pavilion at the Lewis County Fairgrounds from 1 to 4 p.m. as part of the Pride Month celebration.

“Pride is celebrating our LGBTQ-plus community — I say ‘plus’ as there is such a diverse group of people living in Lewis County. We are celebrating everyone that lives in Lewis County,” said Carmen Sweet, a member of the planning committee for the event. “The picnic is for anyone that can accept and love people for who they are.”

The first two events were “pot luck” picnics, with grilled items provided by event organizers, but Mr. Sweet said this year all of the food at the event will be provided and served by the committee.

The food will include hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, salads and a “delicious rainbow cake.”

A poet and former county resident that has returned and a transgender person sharing their experiences are scheduled to speak during the celebration.

Other entertainment will include music, raffles and a 50/50 drawing with a twist. Not only will the ticket holder take home 50% of the total money taken in for the drawing, the other half of the money will go to a LGBTQ youth under 18 years old.

“Hopefully whatever youth wins it will have the opportunity to spend it on things they otherwise wouldn’t get,” Mr. Sweet said.

A number of organizations and agencies will be at tables set up throughout the pavilion to provide information on opportunities and support available to the LGBTQ community as well as the larger community.

“We are asking everyone that’s not vaccinated to wear a mask while walking around until you take a seat to eat your meal,” Mr. Sweet said, and social distancing will be respected.

Sponsors of the event include the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living, Planned Parenthood, NY Connects, Stewart’s Shops and Indivisible Lowville.

New this year will be more events to bring the LGBTQ+ community together after this Pride Picnic is over.

“We’re going to expand,” said Mr. Sweet. “Having more events happening throughout the year for the community because it’s not just about the LGBTQ community, it’s about our community as a whole.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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