Get To Know Bethel CT Pride
Bethel CT Pride is a fully volunteer-driven effort aimed at providing support and celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community. We hold events and programming in Bethel and the surrounding Western Connecticut area, as well as online. We welcome all queer community members and allies interested in what we have to offer!
We love all things DIY, partnering with groups near and far, coming up with whimsical events, and connecting folx to the support they need. We also center accessibility in everything we do, with the goal of ensuring we can support the needs of as many people as possible.
How it all began
From a middle school student’s idea to a community celebration
In March 2017, Alexis Main’s 12 year-old-daughter received a simple school assignment: write about an issue that impacts society. Main’s daughter, Hailey, chose something close to her heart, LGBTQ+ rights. As she wrote her paper, she began to think about the local LGBTQ+ community. Did they feel welcome here? How were they supported? How could she help? With friends, Hailey organized the first LGBTQ+ parade and celebration of its kind in the greater Danbury, CT area. And Bethel CT Pride was born! While the Main family has moved away, their legacy remains!
A community staple
Bethel CT Pride now serves the LGBTQ+ community in a variety of ways:
The annual Bethel CT Pride Parade & Celebration provides a safe space for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, ace, intersex, allies, and questioning individuals to celebrate their authentic selves. While some metropolitan events can cater to adults, Bethel CT Pride’s flagship event is especially welcoming to students and families.
Attendees from CT, NY, RI, MA, NJ, PA, and beyond enjoy the event each year. The event features music, entertainment, art, food, and vendors from members of the LGBTQ+ community. And the support of local businesses and community groups continues to grow.
Now, Bethel CT Pride hosts events throughout the year to serve the queer community in the Greater Danbury and Northwestern CT area. We have held events in Bethel, Danbury, Redding, and New Milford, and are expanding to other areas in the Western CT region!
Who We Are
Bethel CT Pride is solely run by a group of devoted volunteers. We are comprised of business leaders in Bethel, CT, including Honorah O’Neill of Rainy Day Paperback Exchange and Wendy Cahill of Molten Java, as well as queer activists and allies from Bethel and the surrounding area. Members of Bethel CT Pride have been invited to panel at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) and can frequently be seen at events throughout Connecticut.
While some of us are cool with being public, others prefer to stay behind the scenes for safety reasons and we respect their choice to remain private. But if you’ve attended some of our events, you most likely have met our team! (If you would ever like to know more about us, we encourage you to reach out and have a conversation!)
We all share a common goal to support the LGBTQIA+ community by creating safe spaces, enriching activities, and strong connections that affirm and support. Bethel CT Pride welcomes input so we may better serve the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in the area.
How We Operate
Bethel CT Pride is fiscally sponsored by Triangle Community Center (TCC), a 501c3 organization based in Norwalk, CT. TCC provides financial management and administrative support for all contributions to Bethel CT Pride. Visit ctpridecenter.org to learn more about TCC.
(Learn more about fiscal sponsorship from the Council of Nonprofits!)
We are solely funded by donations and sponsorship. Additionally, we have successfully collaborated with a collection of wonderful community partners who have helped us create safe, inclusive, and joy-giving programming to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Bethel CT Pride by the Numbers
In 2017, our inaugural event brought over 500 attendees to the downtown Bethel area, a number we were pleased to match at the 2018 celebration. In 2019, over 1k attendees, 20 sponsors, and over 60 vendors made our third annual flagship event possible. In 2020, we pivoted to a virtual pride event, drawing over 600 views to our livestreamed event on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram! Upon returning to the Bethel Municipal Center green in 2022, over 400 attendees braved 48-degree temperatures and freezing rain to celebrate queer pride—to say our community is devoted is a massive understatement! In 2023, we moved our event from May to Pride month, a move that returned us to pre-pandemic numbers, with over 1k+ attendees and a record 75 queer vendors. 2023 was also the first year that the intersex-inclusive Progress Pride flag flew for all 30 days of June.
In addition, our Bethel CT Pride social media channels allow us to connect with community members year-round. Our primary channel, @BethelCTPride on Facebook, carries a following of 1900+ and continues to grow. We also have a following on Instagram (1870+), X, Telegram, Mastodon, Tumblr, Discord, and more that allows us to stay connected to our community as much as possible.