Aroostook County held its first Pride festival over the weekend

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 1:58 PM EDT
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CARIBOU, Maine (WAGM) - Family was at the core of Aroostook’s first annual pride festival. 

“We made a statement to Aroostook county that we’re here to accept everybody,” said Cory Tilley, a member of the Pride Aroostook committee. “We’re family and Aroostook County is supposed to be family.”

More than 200 people participated in the We Are Family pride festival this past weekend, the County’s first annual pride festival.

“Pride Aroostook Committee is a group of people who got together,” Tilley said. “It’s no entity, no organization, it’s a group of people who got together from several organizations.”

The committee organized music, camping, vendors, and not one, but two parades.

“We decided to have two parades to include all of Aroostook County...We had 18 cars follow us from Houlton and we had 25 cars come all the way from Fort Kent.”

Alongside the fun, the festival was really about being yourself in an accepting environment.

“That was the main goal here, was to have fun and spread the cheer and welcome people back home,” said Robert-Michael Giordano, another member of the committee. “Because a lot of people from Aroostook had left because we weren’t welcome here, and now it’s like welcome home you can come home now.”

Some attendees came from outside the County to celebrate, and some came from right down the road.

We had one lady right down the street who was walking and didn’t even know this was going on and came back and sat down and had dinner with us,” said Giordano.

And they welcomed all, regardless of age, and regardless of gender or sexuality. While Tilley and Giordano were focused on welcoming the county to the festival, they both say the county welcomed them right back and the weekend was a great success.

“I was talking to my spouse last night in the tent just about how big it went off being we put it together in three months and then it rained, and there was still tons of people here not caring that it was raining, not caring about anything, just enjoying it,” he said.

This year’s festival ended on the anniversary of the first official pride festival in 1970, and it will be back next year June 17-19.

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