Port Celebrates Pride Month

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Be The Rainbow Inc. Hosts its Third Pride Walk and Festival

This weekend, Be The Rainbow Inc. is hosting its third annual Chalk the Walk and Pride Walk and Festival to celebrate Pride Month this June. On Friday, June 16, Be The Rainbow Inc. invites people to share their creativity and draw with chalk on Bay Walk Path in preparation for the Pride Walk and Festival on Saturday, June 17.

Previous Be The Rainbow Inc. Pride Walk and Festival. (Photo from Be The Rainbow Inc.)

Be The Rainbow Inc. is a Port Washington-based group of queer parents and allies that promote the celebration of self-affirmation, equality and visibility for the LGBTQIA+ community. Since the group formed in 2021, they have hosted three Chalk the Walk and Pride Walks, monthly parent groups and teen groups.

“In both previous years, we’ve had a great turnout,” shared the co-founders of Be The Rainbow Inc.

The first pride events hosted by Be The Rainbow Inc. were held only three months after the group began in 2021. Although the Pride Walk and Festival was so last minute, there was a great response from the community.

At Friday’s Chalk the Walk event, children and families come to Bay Walk Path to create beautiful artwork and write inspiring quotes for participants to enjoy during the Pride Walk the next day.

“They do these elaborate artworks and write positive messages along the route,” said the Be The Rainbow Inc. co-founders. “The kids and families come for a fun time where they can express their creativity.”

Be The Rainbow Inc. provides the chalk for drawing and will be having Ralph’s Ices and a DJ come to help spread joy and celebrate. Hundreds of people come out to the Chalk the Walk event, which helps generate excitement for the walk and festival the next day.

Previous Chalk the Walk participants and artwork. (Photo from Be The Rainbow Inc.)

The Pride Walk and Festival on Saturday, June 17, will begin at Bay Walk Path and end at the John Phillip Sousa Bandshell for the festival portion of the day. A DJ will be set up along the route of the walk, helping to keep the energy high.

“People stand along the route to cheer us on and show support,” said Be The Rainbow’s co-founders.

In both years, Be The Rainbow Inc. has had bands perform at the pride festival.

“We’ve had awesome bands perform. The band this year is Sunshine and The Fox,” shared the co-founders. “They’re a queer band based out of Brooklyn. We’ve made sure to have queer musical acts for the past three years at our festival.”

Like previous years, Be The Rainbow will have a marketplace set up with local vendors. The vendors will be tabling different products and activities. Most of the vendors supply arts and crafts activities, as many kids attend the walk.

“It’s a very family-oriented event,” said Be The Rainbow’s co-founders.

Children and adults of all ages are invited to join Be The Rainbow’s celebrations.

In addition, to Be The Rainbow’s Pride Month Festivities, the organization runs a group for parents of queer kids to connect and share resources and a monthly group for queer teens to connect.

“We have partnered with the Landmark for the teen groups. It’s called Pride in the PIT,” said the co-founders. “They come and hang out and we do some activities sometimes like we decorated shoes last month for pride. It’s a safe space for them to come to every month.”

Be The Rainbow doesn’t charge for any of its events or group gatherings.

“It was important for us to have these teens not feel like they have to buy their acceptance,” said the co-founders. “It’s a weird feeling to have to pay just to be in a safe space.”

Be The Rainbow partners with Camp Ga’avah through the JCC (Jewish Community Center) to promote their groups, which help bring teens from the south shore in addition to the Port and north shore teens. In honor of Pride Month, Be The Rainbow has partnered with local businesses such as Smusht. Smusht has created a new flavor called ‘Be The Rainbow’ and when a customer orders the flavor, one dollar of the purchase gets donated to Be The Rainbow Inc.

Town of North Hempstead Councilmember Mariann Dalimonte assisted the group in connecting with the town to get the proper authorization for the pride events and the pride flags hung up throughout Port Washington. For the third year in a row, Be The Rainbow was able to supply pride flags to be hung on the lampposts on Main Street. Home Run Electric donated their time to help hang 134 pride flags along Main Street.

In addition, private residences were able to purchase pride lawn signs from Be The Rainbow to display in their yard and show support. Businesses were offered pride decals to hang in their window to show the queer community that they are a safe space.

(Photo from Be The Rainbow Inc.)

“We have good places in town being really receptive to working with us and supporting us,” said Be The Rainbow Inc. co-founders.

Be The Rainbow Inc. will be hosting Chalk the Walk on Friday, June 16 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Pride Walk and Festival begins at Bay Walk Path at 1 p.m. and ends at the Sousa Bandshell.

To learn more about Be The Rainbow Inc. and get additional details about this weekend’s pride events, visit betherainbowinc.org