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10.03 Just Keith… Proud to be Proud in Worcester

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October 2003 – Kudos to the 2003 Worcester Pride Committee for a smashing success! The first annual block party, held on Water Street in Worcester on September 6, was quite possibly the best gay event that I have ever attended in the city of Worcester. The block party concept was far better than a lame parade followed by a series of drag numbers. Boston’s 2003 Pride was a complete let down as far as Boston Pride’s go. Worcester’s Pride may be on a much smaller scale, but the energy was there and was felt by everyone.

The new gay bookstore, Vibes, has the potential to be a great little hang out spot as well. It appears they rushed the store’s opening to be ready for the Pride event, however the owner’s Mom told me that there is plenty more to come in terms of a dessert bar, coffees, and a cozy sitting area complete with laptop connections! They also plan to be open after club hours on Friday and Saturday nights, so plan on a nice intimate setting to get a better look at your latest hook-up in something other than the dark lighting of the nightclub. This could be a savior for many!

One of the few complaints I heard during the block party was that there was nothing to eat. A few sausage stands, fried dough or ice cream, all would have been welcome. Many were disappointed by the number of people standing in the street watching the wealthy who actually paid the $3.00 donation to enter the roped-off area, where patrons purchased beer and congregated around the DJ.

The fact that the committee had to drop the ropes and waive the small fee in order to get people to enter was a pathetic comment on the area’s apathy. Is it really that difficult to part with such a minimal amount of money to support an event being held in our honor? It was very discouraging and a very poor reflection on our community. We want and we want, however don’t ask us to pay or help out in any way! Events like this will never grow without the help of our community, and that is one of Worcester’s main dilemmas, whether it is for a gay or straight event.

It was also unfortunate that so many people were inside Rage rather than being outside at the block party to really show some attendance. Maybe Rage would consider hosting next year’s outdoor event, and not open the club’s doors until the block party is officially over. This event isn’t quite large enough yet to simultaneously fill a block party and a nightclub. Rather than charge to get into a roped off area, maybe the committee should be requesting their donation to get into the entire street party. That way everyone will be forced to help sponsor future events, enabling it to grow each year.

I did notice that some in the Water Street community might not be thrilled with a gay establishment being in their neighborhood. Returning from a much-needed bite to eat around 11:30 p.m., my partner and I drove past two employees at Widoff’s Bakery. One of the men felt it necessary to call us “Faggots” as we passed, which seemed highly uncalled for. I mean, how could they tell from a moving vehicle that my partner is gay anyway? We circled the block and parked so we could approach the men as we walked towards Rage. They immediately retreated into the bakery as we neared, to avoid any confrontation. I followed up with a phone call to the owner the following day to report this unfortunate incident. He expressed great remorse and vowed to speak with his employees. I took great comfort in his sincerity.

Overall, I would say that the event was a huge success. This being the first annual event, I don’t think anyone could argue with that! If you would like to see this event grow in our small community, I suggest you spread the word and praise the Pride Committee for a job well done. Oh, and next year, please pay the $3.00 donation. These events aren’t free you know!

 

Keith may be reached for comment at akconsulting@charter.net

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