Ridgefield CT Pride's full slate of June programs shows 'progress is being made,' organizer says

RIDGEFIELD — Members of the local LGBTQ+ community, their families and friends are preparing to paint the town rainbow in celebration of Pride Month, starting Tuesday.

Following its inaugural program in summer 2019, Ridgefield CT Pride announced it will hold its second Pride in the Park event June 26 from noon to 3 p.m. at Ballard Park. COVID-19 protocols in compliance with state and town guidance will be followed and masks are “highly recommended,” founder Alisa Trachtenberg said.

Ridgefield CT Pride grew from the combined Gender and Sexualities Alliances at Ridgefield’s middle and high schools. Trachtenberg explained that the passion of participating students — including her 15-year-old daughter Eva, who is transgender — motivated her and co-founder Maureen Tyra to expand the organization townwide.

Tyra is a teacher at East Ridge Middle School. She explained that since the pandemic canceled last year’s festivities, the community seems “invigorated” about the organization’s lineup of upcoming programs.

“It’s significant because it shows that progress is being made,” she said. “Everybody’s celebrating this now.”

At Pride in the Park, attendants can anticipate a DJ, bands, raffles, a photo booth and other kid-friendly activities. Guests are encouraged to pack a picnic lunch for the free event, which will also include a socially-distant pride march around the park at 1 p.m. To extend the celebration into the evening, The Ridgefield Playhouse will host a performance by LGBTQ+ comedian Christine O'Leary.

The event is among many planned during Pride Month. Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe will offer a vanilla-based ice cream mixed with Skittles and rainbow sprinkles the entire month of June. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Ridgefield CT Pride.

Starting Wednesday until June 30, the Ridgefield Library will have a table near the Teen Center with resources, media recommendations and a button-making station for visitors to create their own pronoun or pride pins. This coincides with the library’s “Rainbow Week” from June 15-29, which will feature pride-related activities.

On Friday, Congregation Shir Shalom will host an outdoor Pride Shabbat at 6 p.m., weather permitting. Those who are interested in attending via Zoom can call 203-438-6589 or email office@ourshirshalom.org.

The end of Pride Month will be marked with a 25th anniversary screening of “The Birdcage” at The Ridgefield Playhouse.

Tyra said the organization’s month-long celebration would provide a sense of comfort to the LGBTQ+ community in Ridgefield.

“While pride month is in June, everyday is a day to celebrate everybody,” she said.

For more information about upcoming programs, visit ridgefieldctpride.com.

alyssa.seidman@hearstmediact.com