BANGOR, Maine — Bangor Pride has swelled so much that volunteers who managed the annual LGBTQ+ community celebration are handing hosting duties to a full-time advocacy group, organizers said Tuesday.
Health Equity Alliance will be the new host of the event, and the nonprofit agency has begun working with members of the Bridge Alliance on transitional duties, said Maggie Campbell, Health Equity’s director of development and communication.
Bangor Pride “has grown tremendously in the last few years. The only negative is that it is now beyond our capacity [to manage],” Bridge Alliance President Alex Patel said Tuesday. “For me, over the last couple of years, it essentially becomes a part-time job from February until [almost] the event itself.”
Started in 2007, the event drew less than 1,000 people three years ago but grew to as many as 2,500 on June 25, 2016, said Patel, who is a licensed family and marriage therapist practicing in Bangor. The number of sponsors and downtown businesses supporting the event has grown at a similar rate, Patel said.
The majority of the organizing fell on a handful of people, including Patel, Bridge Alliance board member Einstein Hickman and Bridge Alliance Treasurer George Brissette, Patel said.
This year’s celebration again will occur in June, but no date has been set. Funded largely by donations, the event had a surplus of about $3,000 last year, which Health Equity will allocate to this year’s Bangor Pride, Campbell said.
“I don’t think it will change significantly. We are just bringing it under our roof to help ensure that it is sustainable in coming years. The Bridge Alliance has done an incredible job growing this event,” Campbell said.
Anyone interested in supporting Bangor Pride through volunteering or donations is asked to email Leslie Beliveau, Health Equity Alliance’s Pride coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 990-3626.