This weekend’s Pride on the Beach celebration is expected to attract a diverse rainbow of new protesters and spectators to Moncton – from recently-emerged teenagers to longtime friends of the LGBTQ community.
First-time Pride weekend travelers include Julia Limmer, 18, of Old Bethpage, who says she came out queer after graduating from John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview-Old Bethpage last year.
“I feel great that there are so many people out there who accept who I am,” says Limmer, who expects her parents to join her to see the parade.
Also a proud newcomer: Prenda Lee, 38, from Bay Shore, a receptionist at the recently opened LGBT network center in Hauppauge.
Bay Shore’s Cory Chavez, 24, dances during the 2017 Pride on the Beach Festival in Moncton. Photo credit: Barry Sloan
“I’m really looking forward to the love that is shown,” says Lee, who is straight but has gay and lesbian friends.
In its third year in Moncton, Long Island Pride’s appeal is growing beyond the area’s LGBTQ community and its supporters, said David Kilmnick, president of the LGBT network that showcases Long Island Pride’s activities.
Find out about Long Island events, nightlife, day trips, family fun, and activities.
“We’re finding we’re bringing a lot more people to Moncton who are not members of the gay and lesbian community,” says Kilmnick. “They see that it is a celebration of love and unity and they want to be part of it.”
According to Kilmnick, Long Island Pride also attracts out-of-town visitors as this weekend in New York City celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprising that spurred the modern gay and lesbian rights movement.
According to LIRR spokesman Aaron Donovan, Long Island Rail Road is adding three trains and additional cars to and from Moncton to accommodate Pride day-trippers.
Members of the Couch on Wheels community group dance in the street during the 2017 Long Island Pride Parade. Photo credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost
City council president Anthony Eramo said that downtown storefronts from Park Avenue to the city’s nightlife district in the West End will again be flapping rainbow flags. Restaurants and bars offer food and drink specialties from “A Taste of Moncton” and host drag queen bingo evenings.
“Moncton is a very inclusive place and we love celebrating diversity,” says Eramo.
In fact, a prime part of the festival takes place right on the sand, with a Saturday DJ entertaining and a Sunday afternoon concert on the beach with Macy Gray and rapper Rob Base. You’ll need a $ 15 daily beach pass to enter – or get front row seat with a VIP ticket to the festival’s pop-up beach club ($ 90-250 per day including food and drinks).
Here are five more ways to enjoy Moncton Pride weekend:
1. Hit the family zone
The new Pride weekend attraction invites children to take Instagram photos with characters from the popular animated TV show “PAW Patrol”. It will be a carnival atmosphere with entertainment by stilt walkers and mimes, as well as areas for makeup, balloon art and temporary tattoos. Free entry to the boardwalk between Moncton Road and Riverside Boulevard.
2. SEE THE PARADE OF PETS
More than 150 pet owners will march with their dogs, cats, birds and other animal family members. The New York Islanders mascot Sparky the Dragon will serve as Grand Marshal, and two ducks in tuxedos and pride ties are set to shake up the crowd again. Prizes are given for the best show and animal agencies are available to answer questions about adoption. Saturday, 2pm – 2pm, Moncton Recreation Center Pavilion, 700 Magnolia Blvd.
3. GO TO CABARET NIGHT
Half a dozen local singers will set the mood by performing pop standards from Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond – Broadway Show Tunes. Free entry, 7-10pm Saturday, Moncton Public Library, 111 West Park Ave.
4. BUY THE MARKET
Would you like to buy a rainbow flag for the porch or get in touch with LGBTQ friendly groups? More than 100 vendors at the fair include non-profit organizations, companies as well as souvenirs and handicraft sellers. The New York Mets will have a booth and the Islanders Ice Girls will entertain the crowd before they join the parade. Sunday 10 am-5pm, boardwalk between Boulevards National and Edwards.
5. SEE THE PARADE
A dozen floats and 75 different groups take part in the parade, which moved to Moncton three years ago after being held in downtown Huntington Village from 1991 to 2016. Among the protesters are members of the High School Gay Straight Alliance Clubs and Free Mom & Dad Hugs, a new support group for LGBTQ youth. Sunday 12pm-2pm, Broadway from Lafayette Boulevard to Moncton Boulevard.
Proud on the beach
WHEN | WHERE Friday-Sunday, Moncton
THE INFORMATION 516-323-0011, Prideonthebeach.org
ENTRY Boardwalk events are free. Non-resident daily beach cards are $ 15.
From Jim Merritt