Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch, By Bill Powers
Peekskill Pride produced and hosted its third annual pride celebration, Peekskill Pride & Progress 2019 at Dramatic Hall inside Peekskill Central Market, 900 Main Street, on Friday, June 14, 2019 in Downtown Peekskill, NY. The event featured live performances, impassioned remarks, dance hall music, and comedy. A cross-section of Peekskill and its surrounding communities turned out to support the local LGBTQ+ community.
Peekskill Central Market's exterior and Dramatic Hall's interior were both transformed for the evening in a colorful embrace of pride colors. The exterior of the three-story historic building at 900 Main Street will remain illuminated with pride colors through the end of June to commemorate Pride Month. The illumination was designed and installed by Peekskill-based Vivid RGB Lighting.
"We worked really hard to make sure that the whole evening was a memorable experience from the moment guests arrived outside the venue to entering Dramatic Hall and seeing the larger-than-life pride flag enveloping the room--you just knew that it was going to be a celebration," said Brian Fassett, President of the Peekskill Pride Board of Directors.
In keeping with the theme, Dramatic Hall's interior was draped in multi-colored fabric. Vivid RGB Lighting's Sepp Spenlinhauer and his design team installed over 500 feet of fabric to create a ninety-foot pride flag that started at the back of the stage and extended over the heads of the guests.
"We celebrate because we are human," said Peekskill Pride Board Member Wilfredo Morel during his address to the crowd.
The evening featured entertainment including local talent Alexia Tate, and Peekskill's own Drag Diva, Dotty Spartans. Headlining the evening was comedian Julia Scotti, a proud transgender woman who made it into the finals of America's Got Talent and recently celebrated her 67th birthday.
Scotti brought the house down with her blend of hilarious, powerful, and dynamic comedy. Following her performance, VIP guests joined Ms. Scotti on the first floor for a meet-and-greet. Guests continued to be entertained when DJ Steven Bennett transformed the space into a dance hall palace, followed by an additional late night music set by DJ Toney da Tiger from the House of Aviance.
Demonstrating the political importance of the LGBTQ+ community as a significant and influential block of voters, current elected officials and politicians seeking election were on hand to show their support. Peekskill Pride was honored with proclamations from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, and New York State Senator Peter Harckham to mark the event.
Fassett, with his dry wit, served as co-master of ceremonies, but also reflected on the seriousness of the historic occasion: "This has been a very difficult couple of years for not only our LGBTQ+ rights, but for all our human rights, and thank you to all of the political folks here this evening, I implore you all to keep fighting for all of us in the room."
A group of LGBTQ+ residents formed Peekskill Pride, a community-minded social support network in 2016, which recently became a 501(c)3 charity. Its mission is to foster safe, healthy, and supportive environments for LGBTQIA+ individuals of all ages, as well as their allies and families by working to further the foundation for inclusion, diversity, and pride through education, advocacy, and celebration.
For more information, like Peekskill Pride on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pridepeekskill or visit www.peekskillpride.org.