Ocean County News

Gay Pride Flag Proudly Raised at Toms River Town Hall; Drive-Through “Pride Festival” Coming

TOMS RIVER, NJ – In recent years, the Toms River Township administration and council have become a diverse group of individuals and on Tuesday, they celebrated that diversity on Pride Day with the raising of the rainbow “Pride Flag” over town hall.  Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill was joined by proud councilmembers Kevin Geoghegan, Matt Lotano, Laurie Huryk, and Terrance Turnbach.   It was the township’s inaugural Pride flag-raising ceremony.

“The Pride flag (or rainbow flag) has six colors. Red represents life, orange is for healing, yellow is sunshine, green means nature, blue represents harmony, and purple is spirit. The flag will fly through the month of June to honor Pride Month,” Mayor Hill published on the township Facebook page.

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Also in attendance was  Toms River Administrator Don Guardian; Jonathan Petro, Chairman of the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce; Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little, Captain Mike Belcher and Toms River Police Department; Ocean County Freeholders Joe Vicari, Gary Quinn and Ginny Haines; Lexi Davenport, Billy Cardone and members of Exit 82 Theatre Company.

“Last year, in 2019, Exit 82 hosted Ocean County and Toms River’s first Pride Festival. It was a successful celebration of love and inclusion in the community,” Hill’s press secretary wrote.  “Though planning was underway for a second annual celebration, the recent crisis has thrown a wrench into plans. Exit 82 plans to keep the tradition alive by hosting a modified Pride celebration to show the community that we are still here and stronger than this pandemic.”

On June 20th, Exit 82 will be hosting a “Drive Thru Pride” festival from 11 AM – 1 PM in the parking lot on Hyers Street (located behind Daddio’s and Wellspring Church). Following the Drive Thru event, there will be an afternoon and evening of online performances and presentations by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Drive Thru Pride will be a closed off drive through path filled with volunteers, supporters and a few businesses that all stand with the LGBTQIA+ community. They are encouraging all visitors from all over NJ to come by and drive through to celebrate but, most importantly, remember that no one is alone. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced, and no one will have to get out of their car. There will be music, fun and lots of love!

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Following the Drive Thru event, Exit 82 will be offering a variety of entertainment and resources all online to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. If you come to the drive by event, you will receive a breakdown of the shows and presentations as well as coupons and offers for local businesses. All of the online programming will be available online as well

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