On June 7, Jersey Pride, Inc. hosted 30,000 of our closest friends in the biggest LGBTQ party in Asbury Park, New Jersey. When you consider that there are about 15 core committee and 100 volunteers on set up and day-of duties, that’s a tremendous accomplishment.
Preparations begin months in advance to make each parade, rally, and festival the best it can be. Articles roll in from political and human rights activists. The Parade committee plans the route and determines the march order. The Rally committee invites groups like the Paper Mill Broadway Show Choir, more than 38 voices strong, conducted that day by Artistic Director Mark Hoebee, to perform on our stage. Dance and music acts like Billy Winn, 10 Hairy Legs, and Will Sheridan, wowed the crowd. Live music performances were thrilling, with Jeremiah Clark, Nicolette, the Black Mariah, Josh Zuckerman, and the band Run Jenny had the crowd up on their feet again! Zuckerman’s band was the advance guard, with Josh flying from Chicago for a just-in-time-delivery to play favorites and new hits.
Twenty four is two dozen and Jersey Pride XXIV had two headliners! Catey Shaw and her band gave us a glimpse of the future, the Rally stage just an early stop on her rise to success. Frenchie Davis, star of “American Idol,” “Rent,” and countless stadiums across the country and around the world, sang her hits, along with some brand new arrangements that had the crowd trailing behind her for pictures, the touch of her hand, a word. What a beautiful day as well–sunny, clear, and beautiful, and with a cool breeze and low humidity, it really was the Perfect Day.
All of the talented people on this year’s Rally stage were a delight to work with, with none more delightful than the delicious Ariel Sinclair and the dashing Matt Martin. Ariel is a LIPS NYC and Fire Island favorite and Matt is a star of stages of all sizes and a multi-media personality currently working on his own TV series.
Lost and found items were mostly reunited with their other halves. A wallet was mailed to South Jersey and whoever found it had left the cash and credit cards inside! And people were having fun in the sun with great harmony onstage and in the audience.
Volunteers make the world go ‘round and Jersey Pride had expert assistance from InterPride, buddies from NYC’s Heritage of Pride, Brooklyn Pride, and more! Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make Jersey Pride happen and who make Pride happen every day wherever they happen to be.
Soon, the sun was going down and volunteers began cleaning up and stowing gear away for next year. What’s the only thing that can top Jersey Pride XXIV? Jersey Pride XXV! Be part of the action! Mark your calendar and volunteer–you never know the places you’ll go! Once you’ve seen an event from the inside, you’ll never want to see it any other way.