The 2019 themes for the Alive After Five series in Patchogue have been finalized.
For the first time ever, a Pride theme will be incorporated in one installment of the hugely popular street festival.
The year’s first Alive After Five will also mark LGBTQ Pride in the streets of Patchogue.
That festival will happen on Thursday, June 27, starting at 5 p.m. June also happens to be Pride Month nationwide.
“There’s been a major lack of recognition for the [LGBTQ] community in the immediate area,” said Jacqueline Routh, who chairs the Alive After Five committee for the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, the events’ organizer.
“It’s hard for kids who can’t go to the city, so this is an opportunity for families to come with their kids to a safe environment,” she added. “We want this to be a Pride celebration, but the hope is for educational components, and put people in touch with resources in the area.”
The Pride-themed Alive After Five will be followed by three other themes the chamber typically incorporates in the festivals.
Thursday, July 11, will be about women in the arts. The July 27 festival, entitled A Salute to the Troops, will honor and incorporate the U.S. Military. Lastly, the fourth installment, Aug. 8, will involve cultural diversity. The rain date is Aug. 22.
Routh said the committee is trying to beef up the visibility of all the themes.
For one, they will be seeking nominations for honorees who have made positive impacts in their communities, be it the LGBQT community, for example, or the community at large for special presentations.
For her part, Routh pointed to the amazing progress in popularity the Alive After Five festivals have made, with some in recent years attracting 25,000-plus people to the village.
“But we really need to come together and make it more community oriented,” she said. “We have a platform, and because we have that platform, we have to use it responsibly.”
David Kilmnick, president LGBT Network, which is based in Bay Shore, called Patchogue Village and Alive After Five the “perfect fit” for a now expanded Long Island Pride Month efforts across Nassau and Suffolk counties.
“The LGBT Network is going to be opening one of its main centers in Patchogue and to be able to celebrate pride with all the great businesses, bars, restaurants and people of Patchogue is just a great addition not just for this year’s Pride Month but for years to come.”
The group recently expanded its efforts from a three-day celebration in Long Island to a two-week celebration that highlights some of the island’s “best downtowns to visit and live,” he said.
“And there really is no place that matches downtown Patchogue” in vibrancy and for people of all walks of life feeling welcome, he said.
“We are proud to recognize Pride Month and celebrate the LGBT community at this year’s first Alive After Five,” said David Kennedy, the chamber’s executive director.
“In Patchogue, everyone is always welcome!”