Last year, the inaugural Finger Lakes Pride Festival brought more than 500 visitors from across the Upstate New York region to Geneva. For the second annual event, founder Amy Hickey ’97 and organizer Kate Morse ’98 are working closely with surrounding counties, local business and organizations like the Smith Opera House, to celebrate the LGBTQ community of the Finger Lakes area with a day of activities and entertainment.
“We have had great support from the people around us and we are very happy with the way everything has been progressing,” says Hickey, a Geneva native and founder and executive director of the LGBTQ Center of the Finger Lakes, a leading force behind many LGBTQ initiatives in Geneva.
Founded in 2012, the Center offers a safe space for individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression as it also promotes a more inclusive community.
Morse, who has been friends with Hickey for more than 20 years, decided to join the Center’s board and help organize its events. When they realized that Geneva LGBTQ allies would have to travel elsewhere for festivals supporting the community, the idea for the FLX Pride Festival was born.
Hickey, who recalls finding “my passion for activism and the LGBTQ community right at Hobart and William Smith,” says the community and volunteer efforts for this year’s event continue to grow.
“The most enjoyable part of planning the Pride Festival is seeing everyone come together and enjoy themselves,” she says.
“We want volunteers to stay motivated by giving them lots of opportunities,” Morse says. “Seeing how much fun everyone has just makes us want to focus more on growing the event each year.”
The committee is now in the planning stages, recruiting volunteers and developing strategies to increase attendance, with the eventual goal of raising funds for the LGBTQ Center.
The 2016 Finger Lakes Pride Festival will take place on Saturday, June 11, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in downtown Geneva. Those who want to get involved should email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the photo above, Kate Morse ’97 leads a recent planning meeting for the Finger Lakes Pride Festival.