MADISON, NJ - Last Saturday evening was an occasion for the gay community to show off their pride. For during that night, at Memorial Park, a drive-in drag show was organized by Morris County Pride (MCP), an initiative that works to recognize and celebrate the county’s diverse LGTBQ community.
About 84 cars piled into the Memorial Park parking lot, containing about 200 people, where a blow-up big screen was set up by Boxcar, and Premium Productions, from Hawthorne. MCP had previously scheduled to hold a full-length festival during the summer, but plans were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re thrilled to do this,” said Cara Parmigiani, from Morris Plains, event’s head organizer, and founder/co-chair of MCP.“Our team has been very adaptable, and they’ve been through it all. We have been working around the clock, with all volunteer putting hundreds of hours. We are all very proud of these volunteers. It’s really important to keep spirits up during this time and doing it safety.”
And spirits were indeed high on the night of September 12th. While it was a weekend to show patriotic pride during the 9/11 anniversary, it was a weekend to express gay pride.
“The drag show is really exciting, and this gets people out,” said Melissa Longo, from Morris Plains, who is a movie director who pre-filmed the drag show. “It’s a challenge but a safe way for everyone to come out and celebrate without endangering their health. The energy and acceptance around here makes us excited and at home.”
Longo is a filmmaker/editor/producer of Electric Love Studio, based in Caldwell, and attended the event with her wife Adrienne.
The pre-recorded drag show featured a variety of talent and entertainment with music and dancing. Car horns could be heard late in the night filled Memorial Park with joy.
“There is a great sense of community at this drag show,” said Valerie Voreis, who came all the way from Tom’s River. “It’s nice to get out in a safe place, while still wearing masks and practice social distancing.”
Eventually, at the end of the occasion, a winner was chosen for the best decorated car, of whom was Rockaway Borough resident Martha Topper.
“We are doing our very best to be safe as possible while supporting a very important cause,” said Topper, who is part of a non-profit organization, known as Rockaway Unites, which works to spread tolerance and acceptance for all cultures. “I love the people here, and how friendly and creative they are.”
For more information on Morris County Pride, and any other upcoming events and activities, visit their website at https://www.morriscountypride.org/, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MCPRIDE2020/.