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Long Island Pride Festival expands to East End this summer

The festival will include events in Long Beach, the Hamptons and Fire Island this June to help mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots.

Members representing the "Couch on Wheels" community group

Members representing the "Couch on Wheels" community group dance in the street during the Long Island Pride parade on Broadway in Long Beach on June 11, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

The Long Island Pride Festival will swell to nearly two weeks of events in June to attract tourism as part of New York’s World Pride celebration, organizers said.

The Woodbury-based LGBT Network will return to Long Beach for the third year and extend festivities  to the North Fork wineries, the Hamptons and Fire Island to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots.

The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, which has been designated a national monument, was the site of an uprising in 1969 by patrons against police following a series of raids and harassment. 

New York’s Empire State Development Council awarded the LGBT Network a $375,000 grant to promote events.

“We are really reinventing Long Island pride by bringing it to Long Beach,” LGBT Network president David Kilmnick said. “This is about bringing the feel to many Long Islanders, and both the gay and straight communities celebrate and show the push for a larger movement.”

The Long Island Pride festival was moved to Long Beach in 2017 from Heckscher Park in Huntington and expanded to a three-day festival.

Organizers said they are planning 30 events over three days in Long Beach from June 21-23, including a 5k race, a beach party and cabaret night, leading to the Long Island pride parade and concert on the beach.

Organizers plan to spend $200,000 on the Long Beach festival, including attracting more marquee musical acts, Kilmnick said.

The grant for the city is expected to cover all expenses incurred by the city for hosting the festivities. 

“This event provides a safe space for all to enjoy, and it positively impacts our economy with visitors who help support our local businesses,” Long Beach City Council President Anthony Eramo said.

The Pride festivities will move to the East End on June 25 with a Pride in the Vines event to include buses and hotels to the North Fork vineyards and parties at different vineyards.

Organizers are also planning events in the Hamptons on June 9 and Fire Island on June 16. 

This year’s event was moved to mid-June to not compete with the June 8 Belmont Stakes and to build up to the New York City Pride Festival on June 30.

Kilmnick said the festival is expected to attract thousands of visitors to Long Island and raise awareness of the Island’s role in the gay pride movement, such as in Woodmere, the birthplace of activist Harvey Milk.

“As we celebrate a landmark in the Stonewall Inn", Kilmnick said, "we want to make sure the world knows that Long Island played a pivotal role in that history.”

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