The first official Pride parade on Martha’s Vineyard pulled in Islanders en masse on a warm, blue-skied Saturday in Oak Bluffs.
Hundreds gathered streetside as paraders commenced through the town. Festivities began at the dock of the Island Queen ferry on Oak Bluffs Harbor. The parade was met with cheers as onlookers watched it make its way up Circuit Ave. before following Narragansett to Seaview Avenue, ending at the gazebo in Ocean Park.
The procession was punctuated with an array of Pride flags and colorful decorations, music and dancing, and consisted of LGBTQ community members, NAACP members, motorcycle group Dykes on Bikes, PFLAG (parents and friends of lesbians and gays) and LGBTQ-allied businesses, including the Ritz Cafe, Nomans, Rockland Trust Bank, Misty Meadows Equine Learning Center, and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, and protest marching band Extraordinary Rendition Band.
As the crowd gathered at Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs Business Association vice president Sofie Green, a key organizer of the OBA-sponsored event, spoke from the gazebo. “I couldn’t be more thrilled for our community,” she said, thanking Oak Bluffs business owners and NAACP Matha’s Vineyard branch leadership for their support in putting on the event.
After brief words from Islander Susanna Sturgis, highlighting the monumental shift in the accepting nature of the community regarding their LGBTQ neighbors, New England funk band Funktapuss took the stage for a midday dance party.