Street Festival Brings Out the Crowd for Brooklyn Pride

Brooklyn Pride's 2021 street festival.
Brooklyn Pride’s 2021 street festival.
Matt Tracy

There was no twilight march, but a sizable crowd still showed up for a lively street festival in Park Slope on June 12 to celebrate Brooklyn Pride.

The afternoon festival, located on Fifth Avenue from Third to Fifth Street, featured food and street vendors, a stage for entertainment, and an upbeat crowd — including people of all ages, dogs dressed in rainbow bandanas, and even unicorns!

The unicorn hands out goodies to kids.Matt Tracy

Led by MC Lailah Lancing, a lineup of performers took to the stage and entertained folks who were walking around with their Pride gear and food from local stands. Cheerleaders from Cheer New York dazzled with backflips and a dance routine, while several bands such as Control the Sound — which is a group of teenagers — played songs in front of the crowd. Folks also huddled around drag queen Marilyn Monhoe as she interacted with folks in attendance.

New York Cheer is a group of volunteer queer and allied cheerleaders.Matt Tracy
New York Cheer salutes to the crowd during a performance.Matt Tracy
A band called Control the Sound performs on stage.Matt Tracy

Locals said they were anticipating Pride events ever since the coronavirus pandemic decimated much of last year’s plans. Azeki M-J Ali, 20, said he found out about the festival through his friends in the house ballroom scene.

“I wanted to make it out here,” Ali said. “I live in Brooklyn, I am a queer person, and I’ve never been to Brooklyn Pride.”

Ali said it was his first time attending Pride since WorldPride in 2019, which was his first-ever Pride event.

“I went to the Latex Ball and I bounced around a little bit, but I am still kind of new to all the Pride festivities,” he said. “I’m planning to go to the main Pride this year.”

Azeki M-J Ali, 20, at Brooklyn Pride for the first time.Matt Tracy

Families also made their way out to the street festival. One mother, Danielle, said she and her husband were attending the event as allies alongside their child, Natalie D.

“We live in the neighborhood,” said Danielle, who did not want to share the family’s last name. “This is the highlight of the year for us. We’ve very happy to celebrate.”

Like any Pride festival, tents perched along the street represented different organizations — from health organizations to fashion groups, city agencies, elected officials, and political clubs such as Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn (LID). Jared Arader, LID’s president, was handing out materials to people passing by his group’s booth.

“We’re getting a lot of foot traffic from local people,” said Arader, who explained that the support for local candidates who live in that area — including Brooklyn borough president hopeful Jo Anne Simon — was a sign that people from the local neighborhood were showing up. “We’re really excited about that.”

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, who was spotted talking to mayoral candidate Art Chang, was also on hand and had a tent set up at the event. Simon also showed up, along with other candidates, including mayoral hopeful Ray McGuire.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez speaks to mayoral candidate Art Chang.Matt Tracy
Locals check out the different booths along the street for Brooklyn Pride.Matt Tracy
Vendors line up on the side of the street with the stage in the distance.Matt Tracy
Trans Flags were among many different LGBTQ Flags waving in the air at Brooklyn Pride.Matt Tracy
The crowd joins in on the entertainment in front of the stage.Matt Tracy
Vice President Kamala Harris, who previously opposed gender-affirming surgeries for incarcerated transgender individuals, gets a reminder of her past at Brooklyn Pride.Matt Tracy