As featured in Connextions Magazine Issue 12. Click to read.
North Jersey Pride - June 9, 2013
Having been to dozens upon dozens of pride festivals over the years, I can honestly say that North Jersey Pride offered something I have never experienced at a previous event. The 2013 festival boasted over 80 vendors, and 3,000 visitors, with headlining entertainment including, Newark Mayor Cory Booker who gave a powerful speech that had the crowd roaring with energy. What’s unique wasn’t the attendees or entertainers, it was the atmosphere.
Before making the 4 hour drive to Maplewood, New Jersey, myself, along with my partner and my teenage daughter made a pit-stop to pick up my daughter’s high school friend who would join us for the day. I went to great lengths, explaining to the friend’s mother, that we were headed to a “gay” pride event and her daughter may encounter some eccentric individuals, either dressed in drag or barely dressed at all.
Pride events have always been the ‘safe zone’ to let your freak flag fly, although I have always found it somewhat disconcerning, since the LGBT community fights so hard to be treated as an equal, yet thrives at the chance to show the world what they look like in ass-less chaps. Having come out of the closet at age 23, with two kids in tow, one of the first things on my agenda was to hit up a pride festival and meet others that I could relate to. But a pride event back in the early 90’s was never a place for children and families.
Finally, after two decades and dozens of LGBT events over the years, North Jersey Pride offered me a festival I was proud to bring my children to! Various vendors with unique items for sale; more dogs in attendance than drag queens; a courtyard playground area for children, including face painting; and a delicious array of specialty food choices, such as lobster rolls, vegan wraps, Ethiopian buffet, and rainbow cupcakes. What’s more unique is that the great lawn area welcomes blankets for lounging and your own picnic basket of treats, if you should choose to bring one.
Founded in 2011 and an attendance growth of over 400% in such a short time, these pride volunteers at North Jersey Pride deserve huge kudos for their efforts in offering an event that the suburban gay community can bring their entire family too, including grandparents!
As featured in Connextions Magazine, Issue 12 - CLICK HERE to read this issue.
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