This is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered) pride week in Jersey City, featuring a series of events that started Aug. 22 and will lead up to the15th annual Jersey City LGBT Pride Festival on Aug. 29 at the Newark Avenue pedestrian mall.
Ceremonies for the annual event included two flag raisings on Friday, one at the Hudson County Court House on Newark Avenue, and another at City Hall on Grove Street.
The festival is co-hosted by Gayborhood Jersey City and Humanity Pride Productions.
Pride week, which celebrates the diversity of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning communities, has a lot to celebrate this year following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized the right to same sex marriage nationwide.
Eduardo Baez, co-founder of Gayborhood Jersey City, said “We want to highlight how diverse Jersey City is.”
The city’s first festival dedicated to the LGBT community was held in 2001.
Hugely popular over most of the last 15 years, the festival experienced a sharp drop in participation last year, partly because the date was shifted from its traditional week in July or August to October. This year, however, Baez said, attendance could exceed 10,000.
“We want to highlight how diverse Jersey City is.” – Eduardo Baez
A new and better location
With the festival back to its customary summer date, the event will also take place at a new location. Originally located near Exchange Place, last year the event was held in front of City Hall to bring it closer to local businesses. This year it will take place in the Newark Avenue pedestrian triangle between Grove Street, Erie and Bay streets.
“We’ve worked a lot with local businesses, and the festival will also feature a number of tables, but no tents in front of businesses,” Baez said. “We are working closely with the SID (special improvement district).”
While there will be food vendors, the venues will be situated so they won’t compete with local restaurants.
NJ Liberty will hold a youth event leading into gay pride week, and will have a table set up at the festival itself. On Aug. 22, Ty’s on Christopher Street in Manhattan will hold a tribute to the Jersey City festival. (See schedule of events below.)
On Sunday, Aug. 23, Sundays are a Drag...Brunch-Pride Edition, an Official Jersey City Pride Festival Week event, will kick off at the Brightside Tavern in Jersey City.
The rest of the week, events will take place throughout Jersey City, including a screening of the movie “Pride” at the Brightside Tavern, and two Big Gay Cabaret shows at Art House Productions near Journal Square, a fund-raiser for Art House and for Hudson Pride featuring a musical using Broadway tunes.
The festival will take place on Aug. 29
The festival will take place from noon to 8 p.m. on Newark Avenue, between Grove Street and Jersey Avenue, and will feature a number of performance areas, including musical acts on violin, sax, and guitar. A stage will also be provided for dance.
Jersey City International TV and Film will provide a red carpet area and a table promoting their festival in the fall. Pictures of the event will be regularly posted on Facebook. The event will also feature three DJs, each with a two hour set of music. Big band cover music performances are scheduled as well.
Baez said the festival this year wants to highlight Jersey City as a LBGT-friendly city, but also to promote pride and business and draw tourists to the city.
Although the festival hopes to get more sponsors, some of the most significant this year are CarePoint Health, New York Liberty, BCB Bank, and SILVERMAN, local developers deeply involved in the city arts scene.
Schedule of events
• Kick off on Saturday Aug. 22 at Ty’s, 114 Christopher St. in Manhattan, as Ty’s Salutes Jersey City LGBT Pride 6 p.m. to midnight (free)
• On Sunday, Aug.23 at Brightside Tavern, 141 Bright St., Sundays are Drag…Brunch - Pride Addition with Harmonica Sunbeam 1 to 5 p.m. (Advance ticket purchase is required to insure seating)
• On Monday, Aug. 24 at Cantina @ Talde & Carrino Provisions, 8 Erie St., Michael Billy’s Love and Marriage will be featured from 7 to 10 p.m. (Free).
• On Tuesday, Aug. 15 at the Corkscrew Bar, 61 Congress St. (at Webster Ave.), Corkscrew Bar Celebrates Jersey City LGBT Pride from 7 to 11 p.m. (Free).
• On Wednesday, Aug. 26 at Port-O Lounge, 286 1st St., the Pride Festival Volunteer Appreciation Event will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. This event is open only to volunteers at the festival.
• On Thursday, Aug. 27 at the Brightside Tavern, 141 Bright St., the movie “Pride” will be screened from 7 to 10 p.m. (Free).
• On Friday, Aug. 28, at Arthouse Productions, 136 Magnolia Ave., two shows will feature the Big Gay Cabaret, 7 p.m. and then at 10 p.m. (Tickets are $20)
• An after the festival party will be held on Aug. 29 at the South House, 149 Newark Ave., from 8 to 11 p.m. (Free).
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.