May 31, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
Queens’ LGBTQ community will be celebrated in Jackson Heights Sunday at the 27th Annual Queens Pride Parade and Festival.
The vibrant parade celebrating diversity and unity will begin at noon and run along 37th Avenue, starting at 89th Street and concluding where 37th Avenue meets 75th Street. The parade will then be followed by a lively festival on 37th Road at 75 Street starting at around 1:30 p.m. and going through 6 p.m.
The festival will feature singers, comedians, drag acts, and dance groups, as well as vendors, food options, and community and social booths.
The parade was founded by Council Member Daniel Dromm in 1993 to bring visibility to the LGBTQ community. The event was prompted by the death of Julio Rivera, a 29-year-old gay man who was killed in Jackson Heights as a result of a hate crime in 1990.
The parade will pass by the corner of 37th Avenue and 78th Street, which is named “Julio Rivera Corner.”
Dromm said tens of thousands of people from across the borough attend this parade to commemorate that incident, to show support to Queens’ LGBTQ community, and move the LGBTQ rights movement forward.
“Participating in the Queens Pride Parade sends a loud and clear message to everyone, everywhere: LGBTQ people are your family, friends and neighbors,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst).
“I founded the parade over 25 years ago to bring greater visibility to the LGBTQ community. Queens Pride has helped transform hearts and minds in Queens, throughout New York, and beyond,” Dromm said.
The theme of this year’s parade is World Pride, which will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots that launched the gay rights movement.
One grand marshal to be featured in this year’s parade is Candy Samples, a singer-songwriter who raised nearly $90,000 for the New Orleans AIDS Task Force’s Food for Friends Program through various benefit shows in which she performed.
Another grand marshal will be Jesse Pasackow, an activist who raises both money and awareness to support people with HIV/AIDS.
Pasackow teamed up with Candy Samples to create the Candy Wrappers AIDS Walk New York team. The pair helped the team raise $200,000 for the cause.
Other grand marshals include the Queens Pride Lions Club, an LGBTQ group that focuses on community service around Queens, and Mirror Trans Beauty LLC, New York’s first trans-latina run business that offers cosmetology products and services.
Parade participants will be eligible to win prizes–dubbed “Queenie” awards. Awards will be given to individuals who wear the best costumes, as well as to outstanding groups and performers. The winners will be announced after the parade.
The Queenie prizes will include “The Drag Race” for the best drag performance; “The Rainbow Award,” for the group with the best use of color; “The Screaming Queens Award” for the group with the best sound; and, the top prize, “The Simply the Best Award.”
The judges will be located in a tent in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office between 78 and 79 Streets.