For a relatively small city (population about 30,000), idyllic and collegiate Northampton enjoys one of the larger and more enthusiastic Gay Pride events in the country. The 32nd Annual Northampton LGBT Pride March & Rally takes place in early May (Saturday, May 4, 2013) and draws the many lesbians and gays living in Northampton and neighboring towns in Massachusetts' verdant Pioneer Valley, as well as plenty of folks from elsewhere in the state as well as neighboring New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Total attendance usually exceeds 18,000.
Northampton Pride takes place at noon on Saturday, with a Pride Parade - comprising more than 100 contingents. This year's route is the same as last year's - here's a map. The parade begins at Hampton Avenue, down behind Thornes Marketplace and across from Northampton Brewery, and it ends at the site of this year's new festival venue, Tri-County Faigrounds, on Fair Street.
The rally lasts until 5 pm and features a variety of entertainers and speakers this year and also has a "Kids Zone" to keep youngsters engaged (and this is one part of the world with a sizable community of LGBT families). Check here for this year's performers and a schedule - highlights last year included the Emcee Alix Olson, a proclamation by NoHo Mayor David Narkewicz, a talk from Rev. Tinker Donnelly, an appearance by U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, and performances by the Pioneer Valley Gay Men's Chorus, Pamela Means, Georgia Star Michaels, Septimius the Great, comic Jami Smith, Sister Funk, and more. Then there's an dancing until 8 in the festival's Beer and Wine Barn.
Of course, additionally, plenty of gay-popular restaurants, bars, hotels, and shops will be extra busy during the weekend, and catering heavily to LGBT visitors, as will Northampton's welcoming gay club, Diva's. Check local gay papers, such as the Northampton Pride sponsor The Rainbow Times, and also take a look at the NoHo Pride Accommodations page for hotel ideas. And also be sure to drop by Northampton's excellent retail resource for LGBT books, music, and gifts, Pride & Joy (in Thornes Marketplace - lower level, 150 Main St., 413-585-0683), which is sort of the de facto Northampton lesbian and gay community center. Also take a look at the excellent GLBT site produced by the city's official tourism organization, the Northampton Chamber of Commerce.