Bronx Pride Festival shines through the rain

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Appolonia Cruz and Clover Honey during a respite from the rain during the Bronx Pride event in Crotona Park on Saturday, July 16.
Michael Luongo

It was an overcast Saturday punctuated by bursts of summer rainstorms, but the Bronx was still burning with pride at the 11th Annual Bronx Pride Festival and Health Fair in Crotona Park on July 16.

“People stayed in the rain, and it was pouring. I walked out. I did a number and I said I felt like Diana Ross in Central Park,” said Tym Moss, one of the event’s hosts and organizers, referring to the iconic star’s 1983 concert.

Moss said a few hundred people stopped by throughout the day — before, during, and after the rain. Despite the weather, Moss underscored the importance of coming together following years of COVID restrictions.

“Everybody’s finally kind of allowed to come out,” Moss said. “There’s a lot of joy and a lot of happiness and a lot of what you are grateful for.”

Appolonia Cruz, who is known as the “Queen of the Bronx” and served as the hostess and main organizer of the event, told Gay City News that it was difficult to keep the festival going over the years. Still, despite obstacles, Cruz said this is “New York City’s longest running Bronx Pride festival.” Community donations, sponsorships, and relationships with other Bronx Pride groups have have allowed it to continue, Cruz said.

Politicians spoke and were also represented at the event. State Senator Luis Sepulveda presented several awards from the rainy stage, including to Sonia Martin, an early performer at La Escuelita, and to Kim Watson-Benjamin, the LGBTQ coordinator for New York Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. Jenna Frasier also spoke from the stage on behalf of Governor Kathy Hochul.

Egypt LaBeija performs during the Bronx Pride event in Crotona Park on Saturday, July 16.Michael Luongo
Faithful fans cheering during a break from the rain during the Bronx Pride event in Crotona Park.
Enjoying the afternoon in Crotona Park.Michael Luongo
Gisele Mercedes, one of the performers, stops for a picture.Michael Luongo
Taking shelter from the rain.Michael Luongo