The first annual White Mountains Pride festival is now in the books.

The republic is safe, the kids are alright.

We’ll allow ourselves a bit of sarcasm given the bit of overdone pre-event controversy it created. Not unexpectedly, the festival ran smoothly and was inoffensive, and the story hour at the library featuring drag queens was, by all accounts, benign.

Pride week culminated Saturday with a festival at Schouler Park, and it was alive with singing and dancing.

Going on at the same time a few hundred yards down the street, the very traditional Strawberry Festival raised money for Vaughan Community Services, selling strawberry shortcakes and smoothies.

The contrast in the styles and dress of the people who attended the two events was startling, and noteworthy only because it showed that in our community, people of totally different cultural backgrounds can cooperatively go about their business nearly cheek-to-cheek.

Amazing? Not really.

New Hampshire has a long history of tolerance, demonstrated long before drag queen story hours and gay pride festivals.

Libertarianism runs through our veins. An obvious example is former Executive Councilor Ray Burton. A longtime North Country politician, Burton’s gayness was an open secret, yet for decades he was beloved and respected by even his most conservative constituents.

Libertarians today can look to and admire a new generation of gay leaders, including Christopher Bellis, an organizer of White Mountains Pride.

In last Friday’s edition of the Sun, a letter to the editor from David DiCrescenzo warned that reading the books chosen by the library for Drag Queen Story Hour would indoctrinate children and teach them about cross-dressing. He cites “Jacob’s New Dress,” a book about a little boy who wears a dress to school as a costume. The book has an anti-bullying message, yet it was banned in North Carolina as a tool to “normalize transgender behavior.”

As Independence Day nears, we can be thankful for a community that can hold events like Drag Queen Story Hour along with the peaceful protests by those who opposed it, as their right to express themselves was also respected.

We can also be thankful that we are not North Carolina.

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