Rain No Match for Pride in Cherry Grove
By Ariel Blandino Ramerez

Not rain, nor winds, nor dampness of clouds could keep the Grove’s Gay Pride festivities down on Saturday, June 24.

’Tis true that the skies opened and dumped torrential rains on Fire Island on what was to be a day of sun-filled rejoicing, but all was not lost. Spectators braved the wet weather, and keeping with tradition for the past five years, a brief intermission was granted during what has come to be a yearly celebration in the diverse community that makes up Cherry Grove.

Amelia Migliaccio, parade originator and Grove resident since 1959, ensured the day’s success with wishful thinking. “I got twenty calls asking ‘Are we still on?’ and I told them ‘It won’t rain!’” she said.

For six years, she has been successfully unifying a community of assorted personalities to celebrate individuality. The idea originated during a visit to Disney World for the Millennium celebration. Their nightly World Parade, Migliaccio said was “so lovely and moving.”

She was immediately inspired to bring the parade’s emotional aspects back home to the community she has known for so long. “We [should] do this in the Grove,” she recalls thinking.

“Once upon a time you could only be gay in the Grove; times have changed and residents now have children, but [this parade] is just simply a celebration of ourselves and our choices [while] having fun doing it,” Migliaccio points out.

The Gay Bouquet strolled down the walkway, followed by floats representing the Ice Palace, Jumpin’ Jacks and David’s, among other local businesses. This year’s Homecoming Queen, Coco Love, dutifully greeted and blew kisses to her constituents, wowing the spectators with stilettos high enough to tower above the clouds.