Middletown PRIDE festival set for the city’s downtown

Organizer says event ‘celebrates awareness and acceptance in a safe and welcoming environment.’

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

June is Pride Month and Middletown’s PRIDE Festival that attracts thousands celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community is set for June 21 in the city’s downtown.

The festival will be from 5 to 10 p.m. in the area of Central Avenue and Broad Street, where the streets will be closed.

This year’s theme is “Grab them by the Ballot Box” to promote voter registration and engagement. In partnership with the Middletown NAACP chapter, organizers will have a voter registration booth at the festival, and the League of Women voters will also be present encouraging people to learn more about candidates and issues on the ballot, said T. Duane Gordon, Middletown Pride Committee member and sponsorship chair.

There will also be plenty of activities and booths, including a Silent Disco under a tent at the Swallen’s lot.

Gordon said the disco involves people choosing wireless headphones with lights, with preset playlist to three different genres of music, and they interact and dance.

“If you are walking by, you don’t hear anything,” he said. “But the people participating are dancing and having a good time.”

Booths will include face painting, temporary tattoos, a glitter station, a selfie station and a craft table where participants will be make a Pride chain to “symbolize how everyone is connected to each other together.”

On the main stage on Governor’s Square will be a DJ followed by two drag shows, one from 6 to 7 p.m. and the second from 8 to 9 p.m. hosted by drag queen Roxie D. Moracy.

Also on the stage from 7 to 8 p.m. will be the Mystical Motion dance Troupe of belly dancers and Madame GiGi’s Outrageous French Cancan Dancers.

Gordon said most of the downtown businesses support the festival, and a Middletown PRIDE drink passport will be available. Participants will be able to taste a special drink at the participating businesses then receive a piece of a pride necklace.

He added some businesses will be open for after parties.

“An incentive to visit and support our local businesses in downtown Middletown,” Gordon said. “We have vibrant, active downtown with dozens of businesses, restaurants and establishments that were not there 15 years ago.”

Gordon said the event usually draws about 3,000 and expects a similar crowd this year.

“Hope that everyone has a good time celebrating our local community,” Gordon said, “and celebrates awareness and acceptance in a safe and welcoming environment for everyone in the community.”

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