Long Beach will welcome the LGBT community and its allies in June as part of an expanded regional effort to host a variety of LGBT Pride Month events from Manhattan to the Hamptons.
Pride on the Beach is set to return to Long Beach for the third time June 21 to 23, coinciding with Long Island- and Manhattan-based events, including NYC Pride and WorldPride, an international celebration of the LGBT Pride movement that will take place in the U.S. for the first time.
Millions of visitors are expected to flock to the region for the celebration, which will take place in conjunction with NYC Pride — also branded as Stonewall 50 — to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprising.
Hosted by the LGBT Network, Pride on the Beach is expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors to Long Island, the birthplace of Harvey Milk, a human rights leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S. Milk, who was born in Woodmere, served as a city supervisor in San Francisco and was assassinated by a fellow politician in 1978.
“If we’re having all these visitors come to New York, they should know that Long Island has played a major part in LGBT history throughout the years that has impacted the entire world,” said David Kilmnick, the LGBT Network’s chief executive officer and co-founder of the Long Island Pride parade.
The LGBT Network was awarded a $375,000 grant by the New York State Regional Economic Development Council in December to host the festival. Organizers said the funds have allowed the expansion of Long Island Pride events to nearly two weeks of activities, including rallies, parties and lectures. While events on the Island will span the entire month of June, Pride on the Beach will take place June 21 to 23, Kilmnick said.
“Long Beach’s administration and community are extremely progressive and inclusive,” City Council President Anthony Eramo said in a statement. “We are happy to welcome the LGBT Network back this June for Pride on the Beach’s third year in Long Beach. This event provides a safe space for all to enjoy, and it positively impacts our economy, with visitors frequenting local businesses and providing additional beach revenue, helping to keep costs down for Long Beach residents.”
The three-day festival will include a parade on Broadway — from Lafayette to Long Beach boulevards — a beach concert, a 5K run and a Shabbat service, among other events. Last year it attracted over 30,000 people from at least 15 states, organizers said.
Long Island Pride will also feature events on the North Fork, including Pride on the Vines, which will offer tours, wine tastings and parties. Kilmnick said that about two dozen hotels across Long Island are working on offering special rates for Pride visitors.
“I’m looking forward to all the great folks that have come to Long Beach the past two years returning, and getting new people to come, too,” Kilmnick said, “and just having a good time enjoying the beaches, the events and the great food and shops in Long Beach — and then taking everyone out to the complete opposite end of the Island to see the great wine country.”
The LGBT Network reimbursed the city $50,000 for costs associated with last year’s Pride events, Kilmnick said.
WorldPride has been held in Rome, Jerusalem, London, Toronto and Madrid. The sixth edition is expected to attract millions of people to New York, organizers said.
Attendees of WorldPride and NYC Pride will celebrate in the same place where the modern Pride movement began in 1969. The Stonewall riots — a series of violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against a discriminatory police raid — are widely considered to have marked the beginning of the movement.
This year’s theme is “Millions of Moments of Pride,” organizers said, representing the experiences the participants have during annual celebrations and commemorations around the world. WorldPride is licensed by InterPride, an international organization of Pride event organizers.
“It’s going to be a big year for New York, and our planning is going to make it an even bigger year for Long Island,” Kilmnick said.
The sponsors of Pride on the Beach include I Love NY, Bethpage Federal Credit Union and TD Bank. For more information and updates, go to www.prideonthebeach.org and https://2019-worldpride-stonewall50.nycpride.org.