TOMS RIVER – It was similar to a pride parade, as social distancing required Toms River to have a drive-through pride event.
The second annual Pride day was held on June 20 in downtown Toms River. It drew families and friends from the shore area who decorated their own vehicles. They were greeted with music, dancing and rainbow frozen ice from volunteers and Exit 82 Theatre members.
Visitors were offered voter registration forms, educational material from PFLAG Jersey Shore, and information about Grand Marshal Marsha P. Johnson (a prominent figure in Stonewall). They were also encouraged to visit downtown businesses.
There was also a virtual component online at the end of the day, where people could watch an educational talk from Garden State Equality and performances by Asbury Park’s Milian Mafia, and a drag performance by queens including Toms River-born Izzy Uncut. Tips from the performance were donated to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, and four tickets donated by the Lakewood Blue Claws were given away to Virtual Pride participants.
“We had an incredible turnout for Saturday’s Drive-by Pride,” said Evan Phalon, one of the organizers, and many drove through more than once. They also received homemade Pride which will be featured Downtown as part of an upcoming art installation by Exit 82 Theatre.