The 17th annual GLBTI Pride Celebration will happen in full rainbow Technicolor this weekend, with festivities all over town culminating with Sunday’s parade and festival.  Here’s the scoop:


For the early birds the first annual Ride with Pride cycling event begins at Convention Hall, Saturday morning.  Fifty cyclists will ride 14 miles to and from Asbury Park to Pier Village and back.  Breakfast will be served in front of Brielle Cyclery (near Convention Hall), upon return. The ride takes place rain or shine.


Ride with Pride:  pre-register online or day-of at 7.30 am.  Ride begins at 8 am.  $10 per rider. 


Saturday afternoon’s main event is the Foreplay Block Party.  Billed as a “block party for the leather and bear communities and their friends,” the afternoon will feature outdoor events, food, drinks, vendors, games, prizes and surprises. 


The people-watching here – priceless.


Foreplay Block Party: 1 pm to 7 pm Saturday.  Second Avenue at Kingsley Street.


The Pride Prom, organized by the Jersey Shore Qspot, Saturday evening is a “GLBTI night of glamour and glitz,” stated Maryann Buchanan, chairperson, Jersey Shore Qspot, a non-profit organization offering health, senior, family and youth programs and services to the local GLBTI neighborhood.  “Everyone in the community is invited to come with friends, partners or by ones’ self.   Singles, couples – all are welcome.”


And you don’t need to rent a tuxedo or buy a fabulous gown. 


“Guests are not required to wear formal attire,” continued Maryann. “Our idea is that you just dress to impress.  However you interpret that is how you should select your attire for the evening.”


Pride Prom:  8 pm to midnight Saturday at the Bradley Beach Firehouse Banquet Hall.  Call 732.688.2032; register online JSQspot.org or buy tickets at the door.  Advance registration suggested.   This sounds like a great time and, by speaking with Maryann, I know her team is working hard to make this a great event.


Sunday is the big day, beginning with the Pride Parade at noon.  The short parade ends at Bradley Field, kicking off the GLBTI Pride Festival. 


This year, the Festival’s headliner is the incomparable Martha Wash, the diva of dance music, whose hits include Gonna Make You Sweat.  If you have ever been to a gay bar or listened to WKTU-FM for an hour, you know the rest of her resume in your sleep.  Sharing the main stage with Martha are nine other performers.  If I remember correctly, the Festival’s headliner usually performs around 5 pm. 


Parade and Pride Celebration, noon to 7 pm, Bradley Field.


Additionally, tons of the businesses in Asbury Park are getting in on the rainbow action by offering sales, specials and extended hours.  Spend some time on Cookman Avenue.  Jeffrey, owner of the great Plan B restaurant, tells me he has something extra special planned.


The entire weekend, wrapped in a rainbow, is a one-of-a-kind scene.  Energy and vibe – amazing.  Costumes – awe inspiring.  Spirit and energy – uplifting.


Tons more info about all these events at JerseyPride.org. 


Look for the best and most photos and coverage of Pride in upcoming issues of this newspaper.