On June 4, the town of Babylon Village held its fourth annual Pride parade, celebrating the local diversity and allowing LGBTQ+ Long Islanders to express themselves. The festivities started on Deer Park Ave. at noon, but the parade itself started at 3 p.m. An after party was held at 6.p.m. at Mary Carroll’s, a bar on the parade path.
As per the official website, Babylon’s Pride parade began as a dream for friends Bob Mckeown and Roman. McKeown, a coach at South Shore TRI, and Roman, a prominent local entertainer, started the parade in June 2020 and returned every year with more to come. The event has grown from a ramshackle car parade to a proud form of expression, with the sidewalks adorned with onlookers and sponsors.
The parade has a long list of sponsors. The most prominent is Northwell Health, a walk-in clinic with locations all over the island. Other noteworthy sponsors include local businesses like EQuity Reformer Studio, Babylon Bike Shop and Pure Eyewear among others.
The eclectic crowd represented the wide range of people a Pride event can bring out. Boilerplate Long Island families rubbed shoulders with goth teenagers and older queer folk, which highlighted the unbridled yell of human energy that could be felt at the event.
Floats were topped with dancing figures, drag queens, and joyous supporters. Northwell Health, EQuity Reformer Studio, and the law enforcement all had floats. Music blared over speakers, and people shuffled past each other trying to get a better view. Pride flags hung from the lampposts while sports cars rolled on through the parade, and people could be seen spectating from the windows of their apartments.
In spite of the cloudy day, everyone seemed to be in good spirits.
“This is such a wonderful event,” said Donna Pratt, a Deer Park resident, “I’m here to support my kids, and I think [the parade] is so beautiful.”
In fact, looking around, there seemed to be plenty of families present. “I brought them here on a whim,” said James Fuller, gesturing to his young son and niece, both of whom were wielding giant ice cream cones. “I thought it’d be a good way to get them outta the house.”
The parade lapped the main street a few times, and each time it was met with uproarious fervor. The Babylon Pride parade is growing exponentially every year, with the number of attendants reaching the hundreds. The varied assortment of spectators and participants highlight the support the LGBTQ community has on Long Island.