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Queens celebrates Pride with biggest parade turnout ever, organizers say

31st Annual Queens Pride Parade draws record turnout, organizers say
31st Annual Queens Pride Parade draws record turnout, organizers say 02:32

NEW YORK -- The 31st Annual Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival danced through the streets of Jackson Heights on Sunday.

CBS2 is a proud media partner as part of our #BetterTogether campaign.

The streets, the crowds and the floats were all celebrating love as parade attendees danced along 37th Avenue to a show of support.

"I feel like this is the time you can feel like you're free, like you can be yourself," Jackson Heights resident Alex Diaz said.

The rainbow colors of the marching bands, dancers and performers reflected the rainbows waving from the sidelines.

Spectators say this historic parade has become a neighborhood staple.

"We have been going to Pride since we came to New York City," Jackson Heights resident Shrinkhla Agarwal said.

It is the second oldest and second largest Pride parade in our area in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country. Organizers are celebrating their 31st year and tell us there was been a record turnout.

"We have over 30 schools marching with over 400 New York City students, by far the most that have ever marched in the parade, and we have well over 10,000, 15,000 marchers also, and more than 50,000 people here," LGBT Network President David Kilmnick said.

You might recognize some familiar faces on the CBS New York #BetterTogether float; our colleagues turned out to support the communities we live in and serve.

"The Queens community is so diverse and just being part of this celebration is incredible, and every year this parade just gets bigger and bigger," CBS New York senior producer Jeff Thompson said.

"The energy, the enthusiasm, people cheering, this is a really exciting day here in Queens," said Lee Grossman, CBS New York's vice president of creative and marketing.

Parents and families say it was important for them to show up as allies.

"My kid is queer. We are supporting them, and this is a really important part of our community," Astoria resident Kate Foran said.

The parade was founded in 1993 to memorialize a local man killed in the first anti-gay hate crime to be tried in New York State. It is held annually on the first Sunday in June.

CBS New York will have special coverage of Queens Pride hosted by Jessica Moore on Wednesday, June 7, at 5:30 p.m.

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