FIRST ‘PRIDE’ DAY: “A Celebration of Community: Straight, Gay and Lesbian“ took place in 1998, on the Community Center lawn. About 60 people attended the event, which was organized by local Democrats and was supported by clergy, representatives of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gay), then-Congressman Jim Maloney, the Inside-Out Players led by Ruth Leibowitz, and Harvey Fierstein. Just a year later, a Rainbow Flag was flown for the first time in the nation over a state capitol, Hartford, on March 21, 1999.
From reporter Julian Knox’s account in The Ridgefield Press of Ridgefield’s celebration in 1998: “The featured speaker was acclaimed actor, playwright and longtime Ridgefielder Harvey Fierstein, who emphasized the significance of holding the event: ‘It’s much too easy to ignore gays and lesbians in the community — most are invisible and it’s easy to forget they’re part of the community.’ “
The celebration included music and a prayer by the Rev. Richard Gilchrist of St. Stephen’s Church and a reading by Rabbi Jon Haddon, as well as presentations by the Ridgefield High School Diversity Club and the Inside-Out Players and music by Dave Goldenberg.