Gay Pride Rockland Celebrates This Weekend

Events in Nyack Saturday & Sunday

BY ROBERT KNIGHT
CITY EDITOR
ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES

Rockland County will celebrate its 16th annual “Gay Pride” weekend this coming Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday’s event is a concert at the Nyack Center at Broadway and Depew Street, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance at the VCS office at 77 South Main Street in New City or its website at www.gaypriderockland.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door Saturday evening for $30.

According to Gay Pride Rockland Director Phyllis B. Frank the headline act Saturday will be Well-Strung, a local male rock band from the Rockland Music Conservatory. The opening act will feature Nyack’s own award-winning recording artists Bobby Belfry and David Budway.

On Sunday VCS will present the daylong Gay Pride Rockland festival in the Riverspace parking lot on Main Street, beside and behind the former Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center.

Activities there will begin at 12 noon with the opening ceremonies, and run through 5 p.m., with free admission for all events.

Unlike similar Pride events throughout the nation and the world, Rockland’s is billed as “A celebration, not a parade,” with Frank saying it is a family event open to everyone, not just the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) community.

The opening ceremonies will feature welcoming speeches by local village, town, county, state and federal officials and community leaders from the portable stage provided by the Town of Orangetown. Performances throughout the afternoon from that same stage will be given by the Nyack High School Marching Band, Autumn Hues & Lady Keyante and Frankie Dee & Thee Boys.

There will be dozens of vendors throughout the event including both supportive businesses and gay-serving or gay-friendly non-profit organizations, community centers, religious institutions and similar agencies.

And while adults peruse the vendors and the stage events, there will be numerous organized activities to keep children occupied throughout the day including supervised children’s activities, face painting, a plastic bounce chamber and a 22-foot plastic slide among others.

The June Pride month activities actually began in Rockland last Sunday, June 1, with the opening of Gay Pride Rockland’s 5th annual juried art exhibit and sale, held throughout the campus of the Rockland Center for the Arts off Greenbush Road in West Nyack.

Exhibit Chair Hal Parker said there were more than 50 exhibitors this year, showing 140 works of art, including paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures. All of the works are for sale, at prices ranging from $95 to $4,500. Most are priced in the range of $200 to $300.

The exhibit will remain open daily through June 14 at the Center’s school at 27 South Greenbush Road. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9-5 and weekends from 1-5 p.m., with free admission daily.

Visitors to this weekend’s festivities will get to meet VCS’ new executive director, Sarah Goforth.

“In 1999 VCS sponsored the first Gay Pride Rockland event. This began a 15-year commitment to stand with our sisters and brothers and shout out loud and proud that we all matter.”

Visitors to this weekend’s events will also receive copies of the 2014-15 edition of the Gay Pride Rockland directory of LGBT friendly businesses, services and community organizations. VCS staff devoted to the year-long Gay Pride Rockland project include Associate agency Executive Director and Project Director Phyllis Frank and Pride coordinators Diana Wilkins and Brooke Malloy.