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Rainbow Skate mixes inclusion with winter fun

WBFO file photo

Canalside hosted an event Friday that mixed winter fun with an effort to promote diversity and inclusion.The Rainbow Skate celebrated the local LGBT community and benefited the Pride Center of WNY. The event included food trucks, DJs, ice skating, curling, ice bikes, and on-ice performances.

The theme of inclusion wasn't lost in the smorgasbord of activities.

“This is the type of thing that no matter what age you are, no matter what part of the community you are, this is something that people can come together and enjoy doing together,” said Matthew Crehan Higgins, senior director of The Pride Center WNY.

“We certainly in Western New York do a lot of grousing about it being cold and windy and snowy sometimes," Crehan Higgins told WBFO. "But, you know, through things like outdoor events that make winter fun, we come together and remember what makes living in Western New York great."

The goal of Rainbow Skate, he added was to attract as many people from as many communities as possible to share "fun in the outdoors."

Crehan Higgins said that while significant progress has been made in regards to equality and acceptance of the LGBT community, there's still work to do at the state level and in other arenas. 

"But we’ve also seen some ground level visibility from places we didn’t expect before, one of the most notable being that we had the first-ever LGBT Night with a professional sports organization in Western New York with the Buffalo Bisons last year," he said.

The Pride Center partnered with Canalside, Loop Magazine and Ambush to stage the first annual Rainbow Skate.

"This will be a new event for Buffalo which will be known as Winter Pride," said Ryan Coate, Canalside's general manager. "Also, this is a great way to show diversity, inclusion and have an enjoyable time at our waterfront."

Canalside also hosts the Pride Festival,  the final event of Pride Week, which is a week-long celebration held each June.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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