KILDARE Pride Events is planning the county’s first pride parade and pride festival in Athy on Sunday 31 May 2020.
Julie Buckley, chair of the Kildare Pride committee, explained that they’re hoping to walk from Athy Rugby Club to Athy Town Park, where there will be a family-friendly festival – Pride in the Park – featuring kids’ entertainment, bouncy castles, food and a stage for performers.
“We want it to be a family day,” said Julie, who said that organising a parade was about visibility and support. “I just want people to know there [are] people out there that are okay with it… and it’s alright to be yourself in Kildare.”
Julie was one of the organisers – alongside Aaron King – of the town’s first LGBTQ+ inclusive social event in Clancy’s last September, before which they raised the possibility of organising a pride parade in Athy at some point.
The Kildare Pride committee was set up after that night, on the back of people getting in touch wanting to become involved, and now has seven members who meet in Clancy’s. Holding a festival was the initial idea – while people were wondering if there would be a parade, Julie thought they wouldn’t get enough people and that it would just be the committee members and a few of their friends walking up the street with flags.
However, “there was so many people [who] wanted one,” she said. “So now it’s turned into Pride in the Park and a parade.”
Julie added that the response so far has been “unreal” and that she’s shocked at the amount of people messaging their Facebook page (@Kildareprideevents) offering to help out. The organisers are looking for performers to take to the stage on 31 May, especially musicians.
“Anyone that would like to help in any way possible, we would absolutely be delighted, over the moon,” she said.