Pride Parade brings Islanders together

Participants marched passionately around Oak Bluffs in all colors on Saturday.

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Under blue skies and sunshine, the Island community gathered to celebrate its third annual Pride Parade on Saturday afternoon. Parade participants congregated by the Oak Bluffs Island Queen terminal at around 2 pm, with more than 200 people lined up by the time the parade started an hour later.

In the parking lot beside Ocean Park, groups began setting up a large tent to give out T shirts, sweatshirts, flags, and information for LGBTQ resources. Molly Conole, the administrator in operations of the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, was among those setting up.

“We believe really strongly in the message that God loves everyone,” said Conole. “And we recognize that a lot of people have suffered from religious trauma.” She said the church aims to be a “different voice.”

Betsy Edge was also among those at the tent, representing Health Imperatives, a reproductive health clinic in Vineyard Haven. 

A large truck with about 15 children and a few adults was one of the first groups to show up outside the Island Queen terminal, putting together large wooden rainbows and Pride flags. Sitting atop the truck bed was Lisa Magnarelli-Magden, an art teacher at the West Tisbury School. 

Magnarelli-Magden explained that the Vineyard’s first Pride Parade hadn’t included floats, and felt a bit disorganized. But now, the parade has gotten “exponentially larger.”

“Each year gets better,” Magnarelli-Magden said. “We’re just glad it’s here.”

The West Tisbury School’s truck float included students from fifth to eighth grades, preparing to pass out flags, candy, and stickers. 

“I’m really excited,” said Izzy Nelligan, one of the sixth graders. “We have a great Gay-Straight Alliance Club at school, and I just feel really open to it. I feel accepted.” 

By 3 pm, families, children, and groups across the Island began their march, winding through Circuit Ave. all the way to the Ocean Park bandstand. 

A band of four musicians led the parade, playing saxophone, drums, and more. “Ken Field and Friends,” as they titled themselves, came together for the parade, showing up in colorful, sparkly outfits. Some of the musicians were from the Island, and some came over from Cape Cod. 

Not too far behind were two horses from Misty Meadows Equine Learning Center, one of which was walked by Martha Klein, a member of the staff at the center. 

“It’s awesome to see everyone out. It’s gonna be a holler,” said Klein. She said it’s been “wonderful” to see the community’s support.

Along the parade route, residents and businesses could be seen waving flags and cheering. Two moderators in drag, Missy Steak and Larissa Montes, shouted out, “Happy Pride!” at viewers, using a microphone and standing up in their float. 

The parade wrapped up at the bandstand at around 3:30 pm, although cheers and music continued long after.

1 COMMENT

  1. I think the author of this article meant that the Parade concluded at 3:30, not commenced..

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