Gay Pride Parade, Festival Planned In Oswego

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Monday night, the Physical Services Committee paved the way for the Port City’s first gay pride parade and festival.

Gary L. Smith Jr., president of the Oswego Pride Committee, requested permission to host an Oswego gay pride parade and outdoor festival on October 12.

He also asked the committee for permission to use the Veterans’ Stage to hold a family-friendly drag show.

The committee voted 4-0 to send the requests to the full council for consideration next week.

The parade will originate in Breitbeck Park and head east on Lake Street to West Linear Park, Smith explained.

They plan to have a family-friendly event offering food vendors and craft booths set up by non-profit groups and agencies that are geared toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, he added.

There will also be an art exhibit, “Express Your Pride,” to focus on pride – showcasing local artists, expressing different people’s views on diversity in the community.

“Since we are anticipating having many people in attendance, with their families, we are also planning games and activities for children,” Smith said. “Hopefully with a bounce house, face painting and other activities for kids. We are not serving alcohol at all. It’s strictly family-friendly.”

In regard to the drag show, he pointed out that they will be featuring Disney music and “all costumes and music choices will be appropriate for all ages.

The parade would start around 11 a.m., and the festival would run from noon until 4 p.m.

“Obviously, this is something that has never happened here in Oswego,” committee chair Mike Myers said. “I see ‘drag show’ and I know people’s minds are going to go wild.”

“We are going at it more from a theatrical direction, a Disney theme. Drag is not new at all. Drag appeared in Shakespeare’s plays. Women were not allowed to perform on stage. So, all the female roles were played by men. In the script, it would say the character would enter ‘DRessed As Girl,'” Smith explained. So we’re just taking that and putting a little more flair on it, a little more theatrical twist on the thing.”

There won’t be anything inappropriate or of sexual nature, he told the committee.

“It’s not like your basic gay bar drag show,” he said.

“G-rated,” Myers said.

“Exactly,” Smith replied.

They “tested” parts of the show recently at the Relay For Life Walk, he said, adding that it was very well-received.

“We’re not looking to corrupt anyone. It’s strictly theater,” Smith said. “We’ll have music groups; we’re looking at bringing in some people from the Syracuse Gay and Lesbian Chorus.

Councilor Mike Todd asked if the college would be involved in the event.

Smith noted that the purposly scheduled the event in October so that the college students would be back and settled in.

“It (October) is National Gay and Lesbian Month. And the weekend of the 12th is National Coming Out Day,” he said.

Councilor Fran Enwright asked how many people would be in the parade.

Smith said he didn’t have a set figure, adding that the event isn’t until October; “Being the first time we’ve ever done this, it’s hard to say,” he said.

Councilor Ron Kapleweicz inquired about a raindate.

There isn’t a set raindate, Smith said. However, they have talked with representatives at The American Foundry who have indicated they can bring the show inside if need be. There just won’t be a parade, Smith noted.


  1. Just another step deeper into depravity for the city. Why do these city officials believe it’s necessary to impose this perversion (now in if full regalia) on its citizenry? Efforts on the part of these select public officials to accommodate or be [otherwise] “sensitive” those practicing such deviance serves to dignify a pathology and anesthetize the populace to the public boasting and display of a disgraceful – and once shameful – behavior. What next, the Parade of Pedafiles? How about the Bigamist Day Parade? Get a backbone and stand up for what’s right for the greater good! Oh – and spare me the “homophobe”, related ad hominem assaults and hate speech. Disney? Shakespeare? Come on. Really?

  2. Basically if you don’t like it then don’t go to it…. to compare the homosexual comunity to child molesters is absolutely ignorant!!!
    This pride festival is about diversity and celebrating our differences. There is nothing perverse about being proud of who God made you to be.
    I am pround to be part of this and proud my family will be part of this.

  3. Since you neither know me, my background, nor my affiliations it’s actually quite ignorant of you to address my statement as ignorant. You imply that which is contrary to your belief is ignorance, but I digress. Your proposition not to attend is fine for those who can avoid it, but for those who are unintentionally confronted with the audacity of it, they must bear its imposition and ramifications i.e., addressing the matter to a child, etc. The so-called “diversity” and “difference” celebration is little more than a symantic veil for flaunting deviance – having successfully shamed those who can be shamed or blurred the line between prudence and the profane in those who disagree with such behavior to relent and afford the privilege [to those who would] to do so – in a broader public setting. Be honest: homosexuality is fundamentally, if not entirely, about the act. Without the act, it would not exist.

    I agree with you that there is no perversion in taking pride in who God i.e., Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim made you to be (be it male or female). Let’s be careful in defining “who” so as not to imply that God causes us choose to act in this way or that. Let’s also be clear on pride: having pride in ones behavior doesn’t cause said behavior to be right and wrong, which are grounded in truth. On this point I, too, will defer to God (the author of truth) and direct you to the His revealed truth which, quite frankly, is contrary to that which you apparently derive pride.

  4. Yay Oswego! This is beautiful and although I’m straight I will be in full support of this and can’t wait to attend with my children. Nothing perverse about it and anyone stating such is clearly an ignorant bible thumping homophobe! funny the first being one trait they claim not to have, no one but God can judge remember that.

  5. It’s interesting, yet pathetic, how those who don’t put forth a rational argument invariably resort to emotionalism and attacking those with whom they disagree i.e., “ignorant”, “bible thumping homophobe”; which is the clearest exhibition of ignorant and/or ineptitude. Hey Shawgirl, the next time one of your children hits another of your other children be sure to not reprimand or punish the offender, because you would [first] have to judge their action(s) as right or wrong and “no one but God can judge remember that.”!

  6. To everyone responding to Mr. Bohne I have a quote for you: “Be careful when debating with fools, a stranger passing by won’t be able to tell the difference!

  7. Th Bohne – keep talking, as you try to sound intelligent you only succeed in showing your idiocy. If you are going to make the ridiculous comparison that gay pride somehow relates to pedophilia, you may want to learn how to spell “pedophiles”! Smh no one takes you seriously anyway.
    To Oswego: I think this is wonderful, and I know there will be more and more Pride events everywhere since we as a community have so much to celebrate!

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