Montclair Pride events will begin on June 1 and culminate with June 10 festival

by JAY LUSTIG
Montclair Pride 2023.

The Montclair Pride Festival takes place on June 10.

Out Montclair will host its second annual Montclair Pride Festival on June 10 in downtown Montclair. Performers on the main stage, which will be located on Bloomfield Avenue between Church and Park streets, will include Tony Award-winning actress and singer Laura Benanti, a Montclair resident; actor Patrick Wilson with his wife, actress Dagmara Dominczyk, both Montclair residents; and Tony-nominated (for “Jagged Little Pill”) singer and actress Kathryn Gallagher.

Also, drag entertainer Rosé (a finalist in the 13th season of TV’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race”); twin singers Dane & Stephanie; singer-songwriter Lilli Lewis; The New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus; transgender comedian Jaye McBride, and others.

Comedian, writer and New Jersey native Judy Gold will serve as emcee on the main stage.

The festival will take place from noon to 6 p.m. and is free, though a $10 donation is suggested.

Established in 2021, Out Montclair is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that provides community, support and solidarity for LBGTQIA+ people in Montclair. I am encouraged that Out Montclair has grown stronger since its inception, with dedicated volunteers and leadership that seek equality and justice for the LGBTQIA+ community.

“While other towns and stages battle discriminatory legislation, book bans, curriculum censorship and hateful words, Montclair shows what’s possible and necessary: a world where everyone is free, safe and celebrated for who we are,” said Out Montclair executive director Peter Yacobellis, in a press release. “Out Montclair is the anecdote to DeSantis’ Florida. It is more important than ever that we come together to show our pride as LIGTQIA+ people, and pride as allies, neighbors, friends, and family.”

The performances will be followed by a dance party in the street from 6 to 8 p.m. with DJ Vito Fun, followed by after-parties at the Porta restaurant and other locations to be announced.

The festival’s two other stages will be the Bravitas Family Stage (featuring performances for all ages by local talent) and, for the first time, an Open Call Stage that draws on amateurs, amplifying the festival’s theme of “Be You. Be Heard.” Out Montclair will also offer a pop-up skate park.

DECLAN McKENNA

The week leading up to the festival includes a free launch party at the Montclair Art Museum on June 1; and a Pride Ride, sponsored by Bike Walk Montclair, on June 2. A Pride Concert at the Wellmont Theater, featuring Declan McKenna and Oracle Sisters, takes place on June 4, and there will be a Pride Drag Show at the Vanguard Theater on June 5.

Teens can attend a Pride Craft Party at the Montclair Public Library on June 7. Also on June 7, Fleet Feet Montclair will host a Big Pride Run, starting and ending at the Montclair Brewery. Montclair Brewery will partner again this year to host a biergarten on South Park Street, featuring the festival’s 2023 Pride Beer.

Other featured events involve an inclusive story time, “Pride on the Page,” for LGBTQIA+ and ally families hosted by Watchung Booksellers, June 9 at Watchung Plaza Park, culminating with a rally and Progress Pride flag-raising.

For stage schedules and logistical information, visit montclairpride.org or outmontclair.org.

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