The forecast for rain and showers didn’t stop thousands of residents from flocking to Piers Park Saturday to take part in the 24th Annual Eastie Pride Day–one of the longest running annual community celebrations in the city.
“I can’t believe it’s been 24 years,” said Eastie Pride Day founder, City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “Last year we went back to our roots and everything showcased at the event was community based organizations from the music to the food.”
This year LaMattina said organizers kept in the spirit of ‘all things Eastie’ and despite some rain at the beginning most attendees weathered the storm and stayed for the entire event.
“While some people left during the rain most people stayed and once the sun came out it was a great event for East Boston residents and families,” said LaMattina. “I’m so proud of all the volunteers that helped make this year a success. This year was one of the best and showcased all the talent we have and how great East Boston is as a community to live, work and play.”
Eastie Pride Day was launched in 1988 in response to the wave of urban flight from Boston during the 1970s and 1980s. In Eastie many Italians and Irish took off for the suburban towns of Saugus, Peabody and Revere while the burgeoning new Latino and Asian population were stripped of mentors and neighbors to teach them of Eastie’s rich history as an important Boston neighborhood.
Seeing this trend having a potentially devastating impact on the neighborhood’s future, LaMattina thought it would be better to hold a yearly event where all of Eastie’s resident, old and new, could come together and celebrate their love for the neighborhood and meet each other during a friendly and fun festival.
This, LaMattina said, would give resident the opportunity to understand their neighbors and thus be less inclined to look for another place in which to live.
“I remember 24 years ago we pulled it off with only $3,000,” said LaMattina. “It’s growth over the years is evidence that the majority of East Bostonians are proud to be in this neighborhood and love their community and love all their neighbors.”
LaMattina said the vision he had 24 years ago that is now a reality would have never been possible without the help of all the volunteers that pitch in year after year.
The support of the East Boston Foundation, the Community Centers, the Mayor’s Office, the Eastie Pride Day Committee, Zumix, Massport and the countless others that donate time and money to the event is what keeps Eastie Pride Day going.
“Eastie Pride Day would not be possible if not for the help of the countless dedicated volunteers that come out to help make sure things run smoothly, the day would not be possible without them,” said LaMattina.