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Newlywed Christine Quinn to March in Queens Pride Parade

By Smriti Rao | June 1, 2012 2:13pm
The 20th annual Queens Pride Parade and Multi-Cultural Festival will take place on Sunday.
The 20th annual Queens Pride Parade and Multi-Cultural Festival will take place on Sunday.
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Facebook/Queens Pride

JACKSON HEIGHTS — Everybody dance now.

Brightly-colored floats will descend on Jackson Heights this weekend as the neighborhood prepares to host its annual Queens Pride Parade and Multi Cultural Festival — a star-studded event including R&B superstar Martha Wash and the cast of the Broadway show "Wicked."

Newlywed City Council speaker Christine Quinn is expected to march in the parade, which celebrates “A Generation of Pride in Queens” this year.

The borough's largest celebration of gay and lesbian pride marks its second decade in existence and acknowledges the president's historic statement supporting same-sex marriage as well as its legalization in New York State last year.

“It’s been a 20-year journey,” exclaimed Council Member Daniel Dromm who founded the parade in 1992 as a response to the 1990 hate killing of Julio Rivera in Jackson Heights. “And look at where we are today—with speaker Quinn inviting us to her legal wedding!”

Organizers anticipate more than 60,000 visitors and participants will turn out for the parade on 37th Avenue this year. The grand marshals include the Queens Center for Gay Seniors and Rivera's family.

"The fact that this parade has been going on for twenty years is a message that bad things will not be tolerated in the future," said Marcus Woollen, the emcee for the parade. "Any hate crime will not be tolerated in Queens anymore."

The parade kicks off at noon Sunday on 85th Street and 37th Avenue and winds down to 75th Street and 37th Avenue.

There is also a multi-cultural street fair on 37th Road, from 75th Street to 77th Street, where families can grab a quick bite or visit the stalls set up by various non-profits, parade organizers said.

Wash, a vocalist on C+C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat" and who Dromm called a big supporter of the LGBT community will be on hand to croon “It’s Raining Men.”

“We love Martha Wash,” Dromm gushed. “She’s fabulous,” he said, adding he loved the “camp and flamboyance” of the parade.

To round things off, also expect to see the cast members of the Broadway show “Wicked,” at the parade performing songs on a float.

The festivities, however, won’t end with the parade and the street fair. Documentary filmmaker, Richard Shpuntoff will host a special screening of his film “Julio of Jackson Heights” on Sunday at 7Pm at Renaissance Charter School on 81st Street. 

The movie talks about the LGBT community coming together in Jackson Heights in the aftermath of Rivera’s death.

"I hope the [Julio Rivera's] family can see how far we have come since their's son's death," said Bill Meehan, the parade's business manager.