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NYS Fair announces 9th annual Pride Day with more space for LGBTQ youth

People gather for the pride flag raising ceremony at the New York State Fairgrounds, June 3.
Ellen Abbott
People gather for the pride flag raising ceremony at the New York State Fairgrounds, June 3.

The New York State Fair will once again feature an official Pride Day this year. Along with music, a flag raising and special activities, organizers are expanding the event by adding a safe space for LGBTQ youth.

This is the ninth year Pride Day has been featured during the first Friday of the fair. Organizer Bonnie Strunck said the fair has been very welcoming during that time. But there can also be an undercurrent of hostility from some fairgoers.

"We've had instances where people have been harassed at the Resource Fair," Strunck said. "We have a strong community, people react immediately, but it's something that young people don't need to be subjected to."

So this year’s Pride Day will include a safe space for LGBTQ youth. Strunk said they’ll have access to a big tent near the main gate of the fair. There will be activities and dedicated resources for youth and families in that area.

Ashley Davis of ACR Health, which offers a safe space at the organization's Q Center, said a supportive and affirming environment for LGBTQ youth is very important.

"You can, you know, be yourself in an everyday situation, but that doesn't mean that the fear and the worry about being yourself goes away, right?" Davis said. "Where a safe space is kind of a place where you get to be yourself and kind of let go of that fear and worry."

The official 2024 Pride Day at the Fair will be Friday, August 23. New York was the first state in the nation to celebrate the LGBTQ community at a state fair.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.