Celebration Time: Annual Eastie Pride Festival Is This Weekend

City Councilor Sal LaMattina (right) with longtime friend Tony Albano during last year’s Eastie Pride Day. This year’s event will kickoff at 3 p.m. at Piers Park on Saturday.

City Councilor Sal LaMattina (right) with longtime friend Tony Albano during last year’s Eastie
Pride Day. This year’s event will kickoff at 3 p.m. at Piers Park on Saturday.

It’s that time of year to break out your blue and gold attire and head down to Piers Park for the 26th Annual Eastie Pride Day.

This year’s Eastie Pride Day will kickoff on Saturday, August 16 at 3 p.m. at Piers Park but there’s still time to sign up as a volunteer. On Thursday, August 14 at 6 p.m. at Piers Park the Eastie Pride Day Committee will hold a final meeting for the event. Residents who have already signed up to be volunteers or want to sign up to volunteer can attend the meeting.

“We’ll discuss the event’s agenda, decide what tasks you’ll be performing, hand out your volunteer shirts, and answer any questions you may have about Saturday’s event,” said Eastie Pride Day founder, City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “Please share this information and spread awareness about this meeting and our need for volunteers.”

The forecast for Saturday will be sunny and warm and the annual Eastie Pride Day celebration should be as good as past years.

“I can’t believe it’s been 26 years,” said LaMattina. “In the past few years we’ve gone back to our roots and everything showcased at the event were community based organizations from the music to the food.”

This year LaMattina said organizers kept in the spirit of ‘all things Eastie’ with acts like Joe Maraio’s band, Smokin Joe Cheffro and the Henchmen, Sabrina Ryan, Angelina Botticelli, the Beverly Richards Dance Academy and Tokyo Joe’s Karate Studio.

Like always all the food, music and fun is free of charge.

“This year will be one of the best and showcase all the talent we have and how great East Boston is as a community to live, work and play,” said LaMattina.

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 26 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 26 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.

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