Organizers for the Annual Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Pride Parade and Festival are taking it up a notch this year with floats, hit recording artists and high heels.
This year marks the 22nd year for the parade, and the beginning of many changes. The Long Island Pride Parade Committee previously ran the parade, but last July it became part of The Long Island GLBT Services Network. David Kilmnick is both the CEO of The Long Island GLBT Services Network and one of the founders of Long Island Pride Parade Committee.
“It’s sort of a coming home for myself,” he says. “And we’re totally changing the event, making a pride like Long Island has never seen before.”
The first thing to change is the route, which now starts on New York Avenue near Union Place in Huntington. Also new to the parade are floats, and they’ve upped the number of groups marching from 22 to around 50.
The event isn’t strictly a parade, though. Before the event there will be the first-ever High Heel Race.
“We’re bringing some fun and camp to the parade,” Kilmnick says, adding that people have already donated about 70 pairs of heels for the race. “It should be quite a scene and a lot of fun.”
The fun is set to continue after the parade with PrideFest in Huntington’s Heckscher Park. Frenchie Davis of “American Idol” and “The Voice” is set to perform, along with LaBouche, Lucas Prata, Reina and other artists. More than 50 community groups and vendors will set up shop in the park, along with a Health Pavilion that will provide HIV tests and other kinds of screenings. Also on hand will be eight gourmet food trucks and a VIP tent, along with a children’s area that will feature cotton candy, magicians, face painting and more.
“Essentially what we’ve set up for this full-day festival is something for everyone on Long Island, regardless of your sexual orientation,” Kilmnick explained. “We’re coming down to celebrate gay pride, of course, but it’s really about celebrating together as a Long Island community.”
The 22nd Annual Long Island GLBT Pride Parade and Festival is on Saturday, 6.9, at 1 p.m. The High Heel Race starts at 12:30 p.m., and PrideFest goes from 2-8 p.m.