June is Pride month, and the North Jersey Pride Festival is back in Maplewood! After taking a year off to join up with the 2017 National LGBTQ March on Washington, this annual celebration will take place on Sunday, June 10 beginning at noon in Maplewood’s Memorial Park Amphitheater. This family-friendly event brings together thousands of LGBTQ community members and straight allies from all over the Garden State to celebrate diversity, equality and respect for all.
Thanks to the generosity of corporate and individual sponsors, admission is free to this all-day community celebration. Enjoy live performances, 80+ vendors, and North Jersey Pride’s famous five-star food court featuring local culinary artisans. Bring a blanket or some beach chairs and spread out on the lawn. The kids can enjoy the huge Rainbow Kids Zone with a live Kids Stage while you watch the main show. Best of all, learn more about all the wonderful LGBTQ and ally nonprofits that are doing important work in the community.
The North Jersey Pride Festival will feature an exciting lineup of national and local talent including singer/songwriter Wrabel (“The Village,” “11 Blocks”), Karina Iglesias (NBC’s The Voice), RANGE A Cappella (E! Live from the Red Carpet, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street), and Johnathan Celestin (“12 Steps”). Scott Nevins (Bravo’s The People’s Couch) will emcee the day.
Some up-and-coming artists will also be showcased, including identical twin musicians Nalani & Sarina, drumming sensation Maracatu, solo artist Shadina B., and drag performer Harmonica Sunbeam. And there will be special guest performances by the award-winning Paper Mill Show Choir and cast members of Columbia High School’s hit musical Hairspray.
The separate interactive Kids Stage will feature live shows every hour, beginning with Drag Queen Story Hour, led by Harmonica Sunbeam. The Rainbow Kids Zone will also have supervised inflatables, games, and kid-friendly vendors.
The mission of North Jersey Pride is to inspire communities to get involved in the struggle for full equality, to help youth feel safe and loved, and to work to change hearts and minds in schools, offices, and houses of worship.
North Jersey Pride is entirely volunteer-led. There is no staff or overhead and they depend on the generosity of sponsors and donors to help make the events possible. All contributions go toward the bottom-line expenses for producing educational and community-building events. North Jersey Pride is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, so your donation is fully tax-deductible.
For more information on the festival or to make a donation, go to their website at www.northjerseypride.org.