New York puts the ‘special' in special events. Yes, there are dozens of Pride happening all summer long, but the state also hosts more general events that nevertheless have an undeniable LGBT appeal.
Friends of Judy, fans of Wicked and other Ozians can't miss the annual Oz-Stravaganza in Chittenango, birthplace of L. Frank Baum. The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival provides a particularly good reason to visit her hometown of Jamestown in western New York, which year-round hosts a museum exhibiting sets from I Love Lucy.
In May, Rochester hosts the annual Lilac Festival in Rochester, and Albany the Tulip Fest plus Art on Lark in June. Scrumptious events are held year round at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, and winery tours and tastings happen from Long Island to Niagara Falls. In August, check out the Annual Madison Bouckville Antique Week, which brings together collectors, admirers and dealers from across the globe to the largest antique event in New York State. Don't miss the rainbow-colored magnificence of New York's spectacular hot-air Balloon Festivals and Rallies, from the Adirondacks to Central New York to the Finger Lakes. And there are even holiday festivals, like the Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles and Lights on the Lake in Liverpool.
One doesn't have to wait until June to attend an LGBT event in New York State. In New York City, the Original GLBT Expo takes over the Javits Center in March. The LGBT Center hosts events all year long including their annual Summer "CAMP" Festival serving up drag queens, Cycle for the Cause in September and Women's Event in November. The Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the world's first and only gay art museum, hosts openings, auctions and a June Founders' Day Celebration.
The Fire Island Dance Festival transforms the Great South Bay into a dancers' paradise each July.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA) welcome travelers to the Catskills with several events throughout the year at various locations. Hudson Pride hosts the Love Ball (February). Look for tea dances, a Gala (March) and a Hudson Valley Dance Festival (October), too.
In the Finger Lakes, Ithaca's LGBT community hosts a monthly Dinner Night OUT. Syracuse Gay & Lesbian Chorus celebrates the holidays with style, and in Buffalo, the Pride Center of Western New York offers major holiday parties, the Alliance Drag Show (March) and Dining Out For Life (April).
Are film festivals your passion? Rochester's ImageOut is upstate's longest running lesbian/gay film and video festival (October) and the NewFest at Lincoln Center is New York City's LGBT film festival, celebrating its 25th anniversary this September with film premieres and parties. The Tribeca Film Festival also features LGBT films in its edgy April lineup, while the Woodstock Film Festival (September) and Hamptons International Film Festival (October) boast lots of celeb-sightings.
Pride is a statewide celebration in New York, too big to be contained in one city, so mark your social calendar for fabulous parades, festivals, 5K races, performances, celebrities, auctions, giveaways, food, drink, dances and fun!
New York City is clearly the mother of all Prides - it's where the Stonewall rebellion in June 1969 gave birth to the modern gay rights movement, and why Pride is celebrated in June nationwide to celebrate its anniversary every year. The Center's annual June Garden Party is the USA's only LGBT tasting festival, with 40+ yummy restaurants. The city's unparalleled Pride March, Festival, Rally and other activities clearly belong on every LGBT bucket list.
The boroughs celebrate in their own inimitable style too, throughout June with Staten Island Pride, Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride in Jackson Heights and Brooklyn Pride in Park Slope, and in July at the Annual Bronx LGBTQ Pride Festival & Health Day.
Long Island Pride takes place in Huntington with a different theme every year.
The annual "Day to be Gay" event in the Catskills has become "Gay Pride Weekend in the Catskills". Hudson Pride takes over Warren Street and the waterfront.
In Our Own Voices hosts the Capital Region's annual four-day Black and Latino Gay Pride events, as well as a Jazz in July gala. Pride Center of the Capital Region hosts the largest Pride in upstate New York -Capital Pride - with a parade, festival and even a Big Gay Cruise!
Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Bronx LGBTQ Center
Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
NYC - Gay Sports
Original GLBT Expo
Queens Center for Gay Seniors
"The Center" - The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
Staten Island Pride
Tribeca Film Festival