BY ROBERT KNIGHT
Gay Pride Rockland swings into high gear this Sunday with its 15th annual outdoor pride celebration in the heart of downtown Nyack. The event will run from 12 to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the Riverspace Arts Center Center on Main Street.
As always, this year’s event is open not only to LGBT individuals but to all residents, guests, family and friends and admission is free. Director of Center for Community Change Phyllis Frank, from VCS, Volunteer Counseling Service, Inc., the non-profit agency sponsoring Gay Pride Rockland since it began in 1999, promises this event will be bigger and better than ever.
Operating throughout the five hours of the event will be dozens of food, clothing, informational and other vendor booths and tables that will be scattered throughout the parking lot. There will also be an entire children’s area near Atropee Way that will include balloons, music, an inflatable triple bouncer, a 21-foot slide and face painting, among other activities making this celebration kid friendly. There will be musical performances on the main stage from Christian Evans, Art of Stepping, New York Funk Exchange, Jaclyn Falk and Maria Pasquale throughout the day.
Many of the exhibitors at the event are also sponsors by donating money or special prizes that contribute to making Gay Pride Rockland a success, Frank Says. Dozens of tables, booths and tents will be set up on festival grounds, including many representing LGBT organizations and their supporters. There will also be tables staffed by several religious groups who welcome LGBT parishioners, as well as political organizations, candidates for office and incumbent politicians on the local, state and federal level.
An after party will continue the Gay Pride celebration all evening at the nearby Bourbon Street Cafe in Nyack, where 20 percent of sales will be donated back to Gay Pride Rockland.
“Gay Pride Rockland was the first and only gay rights celebration held in the Hudson River Valley when we started in 1999,” committee chairwoman Frank recalled. “We are thrilled that we started it all right here in Nyack and that it continues to be the region’s premier LGBTQ event 15 years later.”