Lynn Rivera lives just a block away from the site of Brooklyn Pride Festival in Park Slope, held on 5th Avenue between Union and 9th Street. But this was the first year the 19-year-old she felt like she could come.

“I’ve never been to a Pride event before," Rivera told Gothamist at the scene on Saturday. "I wanted to for a few years, but my mom wouldn’t take me or let me."

Lynn Rivera showing off the rainbow crown her grandma bought her for the festival.

Emily Lang

But with the help of her grandma, who bought Rivera a rainbow flower crown to match her dress and did her eyeliner, Rivera was ready to soak up her community ⁠— in a relaxed, no-pressure way.

Returning to full strength after a two-year hiatus (2021’s Brooklyn Pride was only about a block and a half long on Atlantic Avenue), the street-fair celebration drew many New Yorkers who have been regular attendees. They arrived with the same excitement Rivera expressed – especially those with newer pandemic-era relationships.

“This is our first Pride together, and it is so nice to see Brooklyn Pride back to its normal routine” said 35-year-old Marsh Shugart, who was decked out in leather in the humid weather standing next to his partner, Gabriel Yayac.

Gabriel Yayac (left) and Marsh Shugart (right) celebrated their first Pride together as a couple.

Emily Lang

That “normal routine” ⁠— walking along idly holding hands, getting a lemonade, bumping into old friends ⁠— has meant that the festival has provided a laid-back alternative to the NYC Pride March, a spectacle that some feel has grown more and more corporate.

“I definitely like Brooklyn Pride a lot better than Manhattan Pride,” said 18-year-old Vivi Knouse-Frenzer, who was happy to be meeting up with her queer friend group maskless. “Because Manhattan, you just get swarmed with everything and it’s like ughhhh, but this is like a nice little stretch of gayness.”

Festival goers can walk the open street on 5th Avenue in Park Slope.

Emily Lang

It’s a stretch that Rivera and others can can navigate gently until it ends at 5 p.m., after which everyone can wait around for the twilight parade to follow at 7:30 p.m., running along 5th Avenue from Lincoln Place to 9th Street.

Tomorrow, the Park Slope venue Littlefield hosts Youth Pride for ages 13 to 20, from noon to 5 p.m. That event, too, is sure to attract first-time Pride attendees like Rivera.

“It's amazing, I got my first Pride flag, Rivera said of her experience. "I was nervous at first, but I feel really safe here around people like me."