Long Island is getting ready to embrace the LGBTQ-plus community in a big way. Three villages are kicking off Pride Month and promoting inclusivity with parades the first weekend in June. Here’s what to expect at each.
East Hampton village made its Pride Parade debut last year with a crowd three to four times the expected, says Tom House, president of Hamptons Pride. “This year, we are looking to increase participation across the board. The hope is for the biggest, proudest display of local support for the LGBTQ-plus community out here.”
Supporters can line up along Main Street at noon to watch groups like East Hampton Presbyterian Church, the Jewish Center of the Hamptons, Animal Rescue Foundation, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, John Jermain Memorial Library of Sag Harbor and the Guild Hall Teen Arts Council represent with floats and decorated vehicles. Although there won’t be bands, songs like “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “Freedom” by George Michael and “It’s My Life” by Talk Talk will be blasted through speakers.
“The parade is a symbol of broad and increasing acceptance of LGBTQ-plus people on the East End with a special focus on young people,” says House. “We want them to feel safe to express themselves and explore their identities as they grow up here, live here and maybe work here.”
The parade concludes at Herrick Park, located in the center of East Hampton village, where there will be a rally celebration featuring a speech by Mayor Jerry Larsen followed by dancing until 3 p.m. with DJ Karin Ward spinning.
WHEN | WHERE Noon, June 3; Main Street in East Hampton village; hamptonspride.org
Inaugural Patchogue Pride Parade
This year marks Patchogue’s first Pride Parade, which has been a long time coming. “We’ve been working on doing this for years. But COVID hit and it got put on the back burner,” says James Diele-Stein, founder and co-chair of Patchogue Pride. “I felt it had to be done this year. We were not waiting anymore.”
Diele-Stein promises the parade will be “outside of the box” with its content.
“Santa Claus is coming to town dressed to the nines in his rainbow pride outfit with elves by his side,” he says. “Brown's Jeep Chrysler Dodge Ram of Patchogue will show up with a parade of six vehicles matching the colors of the traditional pride flag.”
There will be 50 units marching down Main Street including a float by Angels of Long Island, a local nonprofit that provides supplemental support and resources to people who are struggling through a crisis. They will operate a float featuring drag performers Miss Fire Island and Bella Noche, as well as “Drag for a Day” participants, who were chosen during a casting call last month.
“It doesn’t matter if you are male, female or anything in between, if you ever wanted to be in drag, this is your day,” says Diele-Stein. “They will dress you up and put you on the float.”
A “Prideapalooza” after-party is happening at Stereo Garden, where well-known drag performers from New York City, Fire Island and Long Island will be performing.
“We are becoming a very progressive village and I think it’s time for Patchogue to be on the Pride map,” says Diele-Stein. “It doesn’t matter who you are or who you love, you are welcome here.”
More info Noon, June 4; Pride Parade starts at Route 112 heading west on Main Street in Patchogue; patchoguepride.com
Babylon Village Pride
Babylon was the first village on Long Island to put together a parade and the tradition continues this month.
The parade begins Sunday at 3 p.m. on the corner of Deer Park Avenue and Main Street down to Park Avenue for about a mile with six floats and 50 vehicles including organizations like Northwell Health, Southside Hospital and more.
“We started during the pandemic in 2020 drawing 500 people with 10 cars in our parade. Last year, we clocked in 3,600 people in attendance and had close to 40 cars and businesses in the parade,” says M. Roman, creator of Babylon Village Pride. “This is something Babylon wanted, needed and deserved for a very long time.”
Lily Flanagan’s will host a “Loud & Proud Pride Brunch” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., which includes unlimited drinks and food plus entertainment ($100 per person). At 2:30 p.m., Babylon Village Pride will give out three scholarships to Babylon, West Babylon and North Babylon High Schools’ safe space programs at a ceremony in the back of Fitness Incentive before the parade kicks off.
An after-party will be hosted by Mary Carroll’s, with Long Island drag performers like Koko del Rey, Ashley Jade and Sassy Temptress.
More info 3 p.m., June 4; Pride Parade starting on Main Street and Deer Park Avenue in Babylon; babylonpride.org