While tens of thousands of people are expected to head to Long Beach this weekend for the 28th annual Long Island Pride celebration, organizers addressed potential funding and safety concerns.
Pride on the Beach, the three-day festival organized by the LGBT Network, is set to take place June 8 to 10, featuring more than 30 events, including the annual Long Island Pride Parade and a beach concert.
Survivors of the Parkland, Fla., shooting — 25 students and five school officials from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — will lead the parade as grand marshals this year. The students and teachers will also attend a special tribute that will highlight the life of Long Island native Scott Beigel, a teacher at the school who died saving his students. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said on May 21 that it would be New York’s largest tribute to those lost in the Parkland tragedy.
“We’re honored to have the Parkland students come this year and serve as the grand marshals for the parade,” City Councilwoman Anissa Moore said.
David Kilmnick, chief executive officer of the LGBT Network and co-founder of the Long Island Pride parade, said it will cost more than $20,000 to fly the grand marshals to New York from Florida and provide them with hotel rooms, and that the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association has donated $5,000 toward that cost.
The festivities will also include a Pride Shabbat, a carnival, a pet parade, a 5K run and a boat parade. Last year, about 5,000 people flooded the streets and showed off their rainbow garb as residents and visitors marched in the Pride parade, which had previously taken place in Huntington.
The parade will begin at noon on Sunday and end at 1:30 p.m., Kilmnick said. Marchers will move down Broadwaym starting at Lafayette Boulevard. The beach concert, which will take place after the parade, from 1 to 5 p.m., will feature singer and actress Deborah Cox, singer Steve Grand and ’80s tribute band Jessie’s Girl.
Kilmnick said he expected about 30,000 people from across the country to attend the festival, and that funds raised would benefit the LGBT Network’s anti-bullying programs in schools on Long Island and in New York City.
He added that the LGBT Network has received a state grant for $103,000 and will reimburse the city for $50,000 for its expenses.
Acting City Manager and Police Commissioner Michael Tangney said he did not expect the city to spend more than $50,000, including police and sanitation overtime, and contractual services.
Last year, the city spent about $152,000 on the festival, and received $150,000 from the LGBT Network to cover costs. The grant covered $134,000 in city salaries.
The festival is sponsored by the city, the LGBT Network, the State Department of Economic Development, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, TD Bank, Nature’s Bounty Co., Long Island IVF Advanced Fertility Diagnosis and Treatment, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Honda City, Bai Brands, Prudential Financial, Bideawee, National Grid and Northwell Health.
“The City of Long Beach is excited about this weekend’s pride festival and to celebrate our LGBTQ community, which has historically remained in the shadows,” Moore said. “Long Beach is a place of acceptance for all people, regardless of their sexual preference. We have family-friendly events, like the carnival, the boat parade and the cabaret — there’s something for everyone.”
“There are over 35 businesses in Long Beach that are signed up to offer Pride specials and different parties,” Kilmnick told the Herald last month. “It’s an economic driver that will help the city and the businesses grow their revenue and participate.”
Heavy traffic is expected in the city on Saturday and Sunday, and larger crowds are predicted to fill the beach park at Long Beach Boulevard on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. There will be road closures on Sunday during the parade.
While Tangney could not disclose security plans for the weekend, he said there are measures in place.
“We are partnering with New York state police, Nassau County police, New York City police and MTA police in this event,” Tangney said.
The city will provide free parking in the Long Island Rail Road parking garage, extra bus service and open-air trolley service to the beach and around the city, which will be free with a beach pass.
The Town of Hempstead will host a rainbow flag raising ceremony for the first time ever on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the flagpole at Hempstead Town Hall.
Additionally, there will be enhanced public transportation service for the Pride on the Beach weekend, including increased LIRR service to and from Long Beach. Many parking locations have been secured, including fields in Point Lookout, Lido Beach, Long Beach middle and high schools, Nickerson Beach Park and Maliblue Oyster Bar. Free shuttle service will be provided to downtown Long Beach throughout the weekend by the LGBT Network.
For more information, visit www.prideonthebeach.org.