Pride flag raising, food trucks draw crowds to Shelton park

SHELTON — Veterans Memorial Park was the scene for the city’s second annual raising of the pride flag Saturday.

The ceremony, which featured a proclamation recognizing National Pride Month read by Mayor Mark Lauretti, was part of a day featuring food, live music and vendors at the park — all thanks to Celebrate Shelton’s annual Food Trucks on the River event.

“We share this pride, so the next generation knows we are trying to leave the world a better, safer, more compassionate place than we inherited,” said Tomér Harel, who organized the first pride flag raising in Shelton last year in front of City Hall.

“Every human being deserves love today,” said Harel as hundreds of residents looked on, “and that’s what we’re doing here today.”

A yoga instructor by trade, Harel said Lauretti is one of his students — and the pair have formed a friendship over the past couple years that led to this annual flag raising celebration.

“Representation matters … every young person has dignity and respect, so we thank the city of Shelton,” said Jimmy Tickey, one of the founders of Celebrate Shelton, which holds events downtown throughout the year.

Tickey, a top aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., and a LGBTQ elected official in the city, said he helped Harel make connections with various local groups, including the LGBTQ student group at the high school, to bring this annual event to life.

“People know Shelton is a welcoming place, and we value every single person,” Tickey added. “They know they are loved in this community. They know they are celebrated in this community.”