North Jersey Pride Festival Returns to Maplewood June 10, Caps Full Month of Events

North Jersey Pride will return to Maplewood following a one-year hiatus for the LGBTQ March on Washington last June. The LGBTQA North Jersey Pride Festival, an annual celebration of equality, diversity and respect for all families, will take place on Sunday, June 10th at 12pm and will feature an exciting lineup of national and local talent, including singer/songwriter Wrabel (“The Village,” “11 Blocks); Karina Iglesias (NBC’s The Voice); RANGE A Cappella (E! Live from the Red Carpet, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street); and Johnathan Celestin (“12 Steps”). Scott Nevins (Bravo’s The People’s Couch) will emcee the day. 

Sunday, June 10th, 2018, 12pm-6pm
Memorial Park Amphitheater, 161 Dunnell Road, Maplewood, NJ

The afternoon will also showcase up-and-coming artists, including identical twin musicians Nalani & Sarina; drumming sensation Maracatu; solo artist Shadina B.; drag performer Harmonica Sunbeam; the award-winning Paper Mill Show Choir; and a special guest performance by cast members of Columbia High School’s hit production of the musical Hairspray. (For more detailed information, check out the North Jersey Pride Guide:

A separate interactive Kids Stage will feature live shows every hour, beginning with Drag Queen Story Hour, led by Harmonica Sunbeam. The Rainbow Kids Zone will also have supervised inflatables, games, and kid-friendly vendors. The Vendor Court will include 80+ merchants and nonprofits, and the Food Court showcases the culinary fare of mainly local eateries. PNC Bank will return as the 2018 Presenting Sponsor, and Atlantic Health System will again support at the Premier level. 

“At Atlantic Health System, the power of diversity is rooted in the unique experiences of our patients, team members and communities we serve. We leverage these experiences as we create a supportive, inclusive and welcoming environment,” said Nikki Sumpter, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Atlantic Health System. “North Jersey Pride is instrumental in driving acceptance and understanding across our state.”

Other major sponsors include RMANJ at the Leadership level, and Maplecrest Ford Lincoln and Valley Health System at the Unity level. 

Theme for 2018: Resistance 

This year’s Pride theme is “rainbow resistance,” said North Jersey Pride’s executive director C.J. Prince. “Pride will always be a celebration of how far we’ve come. But we’re also conscious of how far we still have to go and of the struggles for freedom and safety being fought on multiple fronts: trans equality, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, safer gun laws, immigration policy—just to name a few. We have tremendous intersectionality between us.”

Prince added that North Jersey Pride is a 501(c)3 and therefore, as an organization, does not take political positions. “But, as we’ve long said in the LGBTQ movement, the personal is political. As long as we have an administration determined to move us backward, we have to stay vigilant and continue to push back.” 

As in years past, two awards will be given at the festival, highlighting exemplary contributions to the community: the nonprofit Gays Against Guns will receive the NJP Appreciation Award for its efforts to enact safer gun laws; and Rabbi Mark Moskowitz will receive the Outstanding Ally Award for his visible and vocal support of transgender youth within the Orthodox Jewish community. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was also invited to speak, but at press time, had not yet confirmed his attendance. 

A full month of events begins Sunday, June 3rd.

Pride Month kicks off this Sunday with the North Jersey Pride Run (link: at 9AM in Grove Park in South Orange. Participants will run or walk the certified 5K course, which begins and ends in the park and winds through the shady streets of Montrose. Kids’ Races start at 10am. Following the race, a celebratory brunch will take place at South Mountain Tavern. Tickets are $12 per person and be purchased at the Pride Run. The Run is additionally sponsored by the Township of South Orange, South Orange Village Center, the Kate Elliott Team, Triumph Coaching, and Pet Wants.

Then, at 2 p.m., the second annual SOMA Equality March, cosponsored by SOMA Action and Maplewood Cultural Affairs, will begin with a rally and speakers at Farrell Field on Walton Avenue in South Orange. Participants will then march approximately 1.5 miles through South Orange and Maplewood to Maplewood Town Hall, where the rally portion will continue, with speakers and the ceremonial raising of the rainbow Pride flag.

Other Pride Month events: 

Pride Night Out

Mon., June 4th – 8pm

Join us for cocktails and conversation at our annual Pride party! Pride menu, specialty drinks and cash bar at happy hour prices all night long. Coda Kitchen + Bar, 177 Maplewood Ave., Maplewood; FREE. 

Pride Drag Show

Fri., June 8th – 8pm

Come out for an evening of fun, feminism and celebration. It’s Vanguard Theater Company’s Second Annual Drag Show in collaboration with North Jersey Pride. This year’s theme—#FierceFeminists—is all about putting the power back in the P*! Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood. Tix: $40 door/$35 advance. Buy tickets here.

Never My Son: A Mother’s Perspective

Thursday June 14th @ 7:30–9pm

A conversation with Kathryn Flynn and her teenage transgender daughter, Brenna, about their journey through transition. Q&A to follow. Unitarian Universalist Congregation Of Montclair, 67 Church Street, Montclair.

Latin Pride Night

Fri., June 15th – 7:30pm

Somos SOMA Latinos and North Jersey Pride have teamed up to bring you Latin Pride Night! Funds raised will be donated to the “Salto Project,” supporting LGBTQ people emigrating from Venezuela due to the humanitarian crisis. The party will start with a salsa and merengue intro class and the DJ will spin all your favorites. Light apps will be served. The Woodland Parlor Room, 60 Woodland Road, Maplewood. Tix: $30 door/ $25 advance. Buy tickets here. 

RAD Family Scenic Hike

Sun., June 24th – 10pm

Join RAD Family for a fun outing with friends! We’ll meet up at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, do an intermediate level hike to a scenic overlook and then have a picnic lunch at the top. BYO lunch! FREE; must RSVP for exact location. Email