This article was published on July 6th, 2019
The 2019 Chelsea Pride Festival came through with a bang this year on Saturday, June 29th, making a big splash at the annual WorldPride in New York City. Held on 37 West 20th Street from the afternoon to early evening and sponsored by Stoli, Boxers NYC was the official host and kicked the party off in grand style, with the liquor company offering drink specials, as well as plenty of games and vendors for the intimate group of approximately 500 attendees. HomoCulture was in attendance to take in all of the action and mingle with attendees and guest acts that were on hand to celebrate.
Sir Richard Branson is known the world over as a trailblazer, and this year Virgin Holidays began the WorldPride journey on a special flight that took off in grand style from the United Kingdom and landed in New York City. This was no ordinary flight, however, with performances on board that included a set from actor Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), a music set from DJ Jodie Marsh, and a slew of drag queen performers. All travelers aboard were taken care of by a LGBTQ+ crew, with some of the passengers including songwriter MNEK, AJ Pritchard (Strictly Come Dancing), model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, television personality Scarlett Moffatt, and Saara Aalto.
On hand for the celebration was Virgin’s founder Sir Richard Branson, along with the President and CEO of Atlantis Events, Rich Campbell, both of whom were there to make the joint announcement of a new product from their prospective companies. Virgin Voyages is the latest venture for the two international companies, and Branson himself personally hosted a small VIP group on the Virgin Voyages tour bus before making a speech on the main stage of the Chelsea Pride Festival. As the current Global LGBT Lead for the Virgin Group, Mark Anderson had this to say about the company’s participation:
“Virgin has long been a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, and this year we wanted to do something bigger and better than ever before. It’s really important that we continue to recognize our LGBTQ+ staff and customers, but because we’re ‘Virgin’ we tend to do it in the most flamboyant way possible.”
Hosted by LGBT global brand ambassador Patrik Gallieaux, over 500 attendees in the audience were treated to stellar performances by a fabulous selection of LGBT icons including Billy Porter (Pose), Grammy Award winning recording artist Deborah Cox, openly gay professional hockey player Brock McGillis, and drag queens Ginger Minj and Courtney Act.
Other entertainers to grace the stage over the course of the event included singer and actress LaToya London, and drag performers Shequida and Marti Gould Cumming. In addition to these international stars, festival goers received giveaways at the Stoli Gay Gayme tent, where the limited edition ‘Spirit of Stonewall’ bottle was featured.
To view more photos from the event, visit the link here.