MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The North Jersey Pride Festival, now in it's seventh year, was held in Maplewood's Memorial Park on Sunday, June 10, and featured live performances, craft and art vendors, a food court, and a visit from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
The Festival, which organizers described as a "family-friendly celebration of diversity, equality, and love," had thousands in attendance.
C.J. Prince, Executive Director of North Jersey Pride, welcomed the crowd and recalled that the first North Jersey Pride event was a gathering in the park which was attended by about 100 people who brought their own picnics, blankets and were there to socialize, relax and enjoy time together.
Since then, said Prince, the event doubled in attendance for several years before growing even more rapidly, with 5,000 to 6,000 people expected at this year's event.
Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca introduced Governor Phil Murphy, noting that Murphy is the first Governor to attend the North Jersey Pride Festival.
"We are going to be the best state for LGBTQ rights," said Murpy to the crowd. "We are good now, but we need to achieve a grade of A+. We have to provide the protections here because the people in charge in Washington aren't doing it."
The North Jersey Pride Festival is part of SOMA Celebrates Pride; a full list of events can be found at SOMAPride.com.