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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Pridefest 2024

By Mia and Ava Vaccarella

Photo credits: Mia and Ava Vaccarella

Across the nation, the first weekend of June shows many celebrations supporting the LGBTQ+ community in honor of Pride Month. Luckily, Rutherford residents could participate in festivities in their town.

Beginning at 11 am on June 1st, Council members, members of the Rutherford Pride Alliance, County Commissioner Tracy Zur, and LGBTQ+ activists were among some of the speakers in attendance at the Pride Flag Raising. Joseph Cameron, an LGBTQ+ activist from Jersey City spoke on the positive economic impact that celebrations like Pridefest can have on towns. Miles Borrero also spoke; he is the author of the recent memoir Beautiful Monster: A Becoming, which details his journey with gender identity after living forty years as a woman. In attempts to make this year’s Pridefest theme, “The Power of Pride,’ more inclusive, various speakers attended in tandem with ASL interpreters.

Crowds started to form outside Borough Hall on the corner of Donaldson Avenue around 10:30 am; the weather was warm and sunny—perfect for the celebrations beginning over the weekend. Before the flag was raised, our Councilwoman McGowan and Councilman Guzman discussed the incredible courage and creativity that the LGBTQ+ community brings to Rutherford and the country. They also provided the Rutherford Pride Alliance with a Proclamation.

The flag raising occurred at roughly 11:45 that same morning, where an original song was performed as it was pulled up. The flag’s raising was the perfect time to usher in the events of Pridefest, which were being set up earlier that same morning.

For the third year in a row, Rutherford has participated in Pride events—hosted by the Rutherford Pride Alliance and Rutherford Arts Council—which have grown in size and attendance. This year, in particular, saw many small businesses, organizations, and vendors, featuring food trucks, desserts, and a bar area. Some included The Bergen County LGBTQ+ Alliance (BCCLA), The Salad House (who gave many generous free samples), Smile Today Dentistry, and lessons from Fred Astaire Dance Company to name a few.

Many of the setups catered to several different ages, as the Pridefest activities were welcoming to not only adults but also children! Stations ranging from face painting, bouncy houses, and games to drinking areas were offered by local businesses buzzed as many of Rutherford’s youth enjoyed themselves in them. To continue the cheery spirit, DJ Dean Sada was present from the beginning to the very end of Pridefest on Lincoln Park’s stage to play upbeat tunes for the festivities, with performances from the theater actors featured in nearby musicals singing to attendees in between tunes. Adding to the joy was host Kimmy Sumony—a drag queen who continued to spread the happiness found during the beginning of the day by introducing guests, thanking sponsors, reading to children, and more.

Pridefest’s organizers create a stronger effort to add more joy, inclusivity, and sponsorships to the celebration. Each year, the Rutherford Pride Alliance and the Rutherford Arts Council work hard to create a day of joy, inclusivity, and advocacy in our town. Rutherford’s residents should be excited about what it will entail next year.

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