Union County to hold second CommUNITY Pride picnic this Saturday

Family-friendly LGBT picnic in Rahway

Union County is holding a Family PRIDE CommUNITY Picnic on Saturday, June 16 from 12 noon to 5 pm at Rahway River Park in Rahway. Admission to the picnic is free. Organizers stress this is a very family-friendly, inclusive celebration of equality, diversity and community.

“Standing firmly in support of equality, inclusion and unity, the Freeholder Board is proud to offer LGBTQ and ally parents, teens, children, and advocacy groups a place to connect, support and celebrate together,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Pride events matter — in addition to celebrating who you are, Pride events raise awareness of inequalities and provide a platform for support and acceptance of all people.”

A celebration of all families, Union County’s Family PRIDE CommUNITY Picnic will feature music, a variety of arts and crafts (featuring the “LOVE Makes a Family” poster making), family lawn games (think giant Jenga-style stacking blocks), inflatable bounce houses for all ages, playground fun, and many other family activities. Families are invited to pack a picnic, a blanket, or lawn chairs, and head out to the park for the afternoon. Food trucks will also be on site for those who wish to purchase lunch while there.

Plenty of entertainment

The children’s music band The Fuzzy Lemons will join in the day’s celebration with a live family concert starting at 1 pm. The Equality Rally kicks off at 2 pm with special guest speakers and performances. Then at 3 pm Drag Queen Harmonic Sunbeam will emcee the “Trash to Fashion” Show hosted by the Elizabeth Public Library. Stop by the trash tent to create wearable items out of recycled materials, and sign up to walk the runway.

“As a Freeholder representing the interests of all Union County residents, I believe it is extremely important to lead our communities toward acceptance of all people and advocate for full equality,” said Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, liaison to the Union County LGBTQ Ad Hoc Committee. “The Family PRIDE CommUNITY Picnic provides an opportunity for our community to stand in unity to celebrate our diversity and support each other.”

New Jersey LGBT advocacy and ally organizations will be on site with general information, as well as support and networking resources. The Festival is organized by the Office of LGBTQ Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation. Additional support was given by WellCare Health Plans, Merck & Co. Inc, ShopRite of Clark, and the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency NJFoster.org.

LGBTQ office is the first county government office of its kind

In January, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced the launch of the new Office of LGBTQ Services. Established as part of Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados’ 2018 Moving Union County Forward initiative, it is the first county government office of its kind in New Jersey.

“The current administration in Washington has created a platform to discriminate and create an environment of fear,” noted Chairman Granados. “Through the Office of LGBTQ Services, the County is dedicated to building awareness of needed protections and advocating for LGBTQ equality. In addition we will be persistent in advancing programs, resources and services to support LGBTQ individuals and their allies.”

Office of LGBTQ Services provides a platform for leadership and collaboration

The Union County Office of LGBTQ Services provides a platform for leadership and collaboration to support equality. It also will serve as a catalyst for advocacy, awareness and action on current and emerging issues. For more information about the Office of LGBTQ Services, contact Danni Newbury, coordinator, at 908.527.4742 or dnewbury@ucnj.org.

For more information about the Family PRIDE CommUNITY Picnic visit ucnj.org/Pride, or find the UC Family PRIDE CommUNITY Picnic event page at Facebook.com/CountyOfUnion, or call the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation at 908.527.4900. Link to the YouTube video from the 2017 event: