Pridefest encourages students to spread love

Photo by Celina Panis

As the roar of Lady Gaga anthems played through the Pavilion and flags waved in sight, crowds of Ramapo students gathered for a day of gay and play at this year’s Pridefest. 

In honor of October being LGBTQ+ History Month Ramapo’s third annual Pridefest, hosted by the Women’s Center and Pride Club, celebrates the diversity and colorful representation found on Ramapo’s campus. 

The event was planned to take place at the Arch, but because of the heavy rain showers, Pridefest 2019 was held in Trustees Pavilion, and the party was far from a rained on parade. 

Tables were set up with representatives from various on-and off-campus organizations. Each tabled provided a different activity or information, along with an abundance of prideful pins, stickers, flags, candies and more. 

The purpose of pridefest is to ultimately celebrate and appreciate the queer activists that contiunally allow members of the LGBTQ+ community to live safe and open lives filled with love. It also is a chance to share awareness and a sense of comfort to the Ramapo community. 

Student Queer Peer Services Coordinator Nina Ravi (she/her/hers), Junior, explained her goal of Pridefest is to “have LGBTQ+ people on campus, despite their background, know there is a safe space for them.”

After Pridefest, she “hopes freshmen can come on campus and feel like it’s okay to be gay here.” 

Plenty of present students were eager to spread the importance of equal love and expression. Some were happy to share their own personal experiences and coming out stories. 

Freshman Kristina Hollosi (she/her/hers) was happy to share how the LGBTQ+ community has helped her in her life. 

“Last February was the first time I associated with pride,” she said. “I came out to myself." 

“I celebrate [pride] because I care about diversity and inclusion. It’s important to have everyone celebrate who they are.”

Along with raising awareness for the fight of equality amongst all queer lives, Pridefest was packed with nonstop fun. 

Raffle prizes, face painting and props for photo shoots were just some of the lighter activities provided at the event. Students also filled their hands with free gifts and sweets. 

The highlight of the event, however, was the iconic performance by Drag Queen Pattaya Hart. Wrapped in purple and dazzling sequins, Pattaya Hart certaintally stole the show with her captivating crowd interaction. 

She briefly introduced herself and the history of her career, through jokes and sass, before beginning her performance to popular Ariana Grande songs. 

With turns, kicks and a fierce attitude, she would only dance the more the crowd hollered and cheered for her royalty. 

After thrilling the crowd, she pulled up five contestants, one being the school’s mascot Fledge the Roadrunner, and made them lip sync to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men.”

The crowd went crazy. The room was filled with energy and completely entertained. 

Of course, Pattaya Hart had to work the stage one last time before her closing remarks. She danced on and off of the stage with charismatic confidence. 

Her show stopping performance was the conclusion of the event and she left the crowd of Pridefest 2019 off with a powerful message that is important for students to remember: 

"Love each other! Because we are stronger as a community than as a nation. It starts from the inside.”