With tens of thousands expected to attend and Mayor Bill de Blasio leading its culminating parade, the Brooklyn Pride Festival has indeed "come of age."
That's the theme for the 18th annual LGBT celebration this Saturday in Park Slope, an all-day event featuring everything from beer gardens to live entertainment to, of course, drag queens.
"If nothing else, its a time to come together and just celebrate life," said Mickey Heller, organizer of the Twilight Pride Parade that will conclude the night. "Even though it's called Pride Fest, it's really about everyone."
Festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. with a 5K run, and a street fair will follow from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Local vendors will set up shop on Fifth Avenue between 3rd and 9th streets. A children's area at JJ Byrne Park will host activities that include face-painting, a steel drum band and bouncy houses. And two stages will see a variety of local acts throughout the day, from comedians to R&B artists.
The festivities will culminate at 7:30 p.m. with a parade, which will run along Fifth Avenue from Lincoln Place to 9th Street. De Blasio is slated to be one of four grand marshals for the procession, making him the first NYC mayor to do so for a pride parade. He will be joined by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Public Advocate Tish James and City Councilman Carlos Menchaca.
"We're very excited about our grand marshals because they have been very supportive of all of us over the years," Heller said. "They have been really supportive of diversity in general."
Parade participants will include the FDNY, Cheer New York, 5th Scouting -- a Brooklyn-based, inclusive scouting group -- Dykes on Bikes and runners from the morning 5K. Organizers are expecting to draw a crowd of about 50,000 this year.
More festival information can be found at www.brooklynpride.org.