Brooklyn’s LGBTQ community, its families, and its friends flocked to Park Slope on Saturday, June 10 for the 21st annual Brooklyn Pride celebration, a day of inclusionary revelry with a festival and a parade that were bigger and more fabulous than ever, according to attendees.
“I could not have imagined how many people and booths there would be,” said Windsor Terrace resident Moni Hendrix, a Pride regular. “There was great support from the community. This year was amazing.”
Food stalls, musical performances, and other vendors typically pack six blocks of Fifth Avenue, between Second and Eighth streets, for the pre-parade festival. But this year the festivities were bounded by First and Ninth streets, expanding the good old-fashioned gaiety by two blocks.
Much of the extra room was used to set up tables and chairs around stages at either end of the stretch, where acts that included pop musicians Emergency Tiara and Matt Martin, Spanish rumba group Salvo and Hugo, and rock group Dolly Trolly performed.
And while the festival’s celebration of Brooklyn’s queer culture was loud and clear, people and families of all stripes did not shy away from partaking.
“You were welcomed, whether you are gay or not,” said Jawindy Swengbe, who drove an hour from the Bronx to attend the festival.
More than 50 organizations marched in Pride’s “Twilight Parade” — about a half-dozen more than last year — which kicked-off on Fifth Avenue at Lincoln Place as the festival wound down. Three grand marshals led the procession: AIDS Healthcare Foundation New York regional director Michael Camacho, transgender activist Ron B., and a group of 20 hog-riding gals from the all-woman biker group the Sirens Motorcycle Club.
Politicians practically fell over each other to get in step with their queer brothers and sisters as the lineup snaked along Fifth Avenue toward Ninth Street. The elected officials who marched with pride included Mayor Bill de Blasio, with his wife Chirlane McCray, Borough President Eric Adams, Public Advocate Letitia James, and out gay Councilmembers Carlos Menchaca of Sunset Park, Corey Johnson of Chelsea, and Daniel Dromm of Jackson Heights.
Other marchers included the Kings County Pipe and Drum Core, the all-women’s drum group FogoAzul, Metropolitan Community Church, Episcopal Church of Brooklyn, Greenpoint Reform Church, and Club X Stacy, which drove in a truck bearing a Rainbow Flag and a troupe’s worth of drag performers.
And though the procession followed a linear route from start to finish, there was nothing straight about it, according to organizers.
“We marched gaily forward, because we don’t do anything straight,” said Brooklyn Pride co-chair Mickey Heller.