Is Pride month over? Not if you ask Tony Zacchei. He and his partner have organized a four-day Pride extravaganza in Rehoboth Beach, Del., complete with happy hours, dancing, and yoga.
“I’ve been coming to Rehoboth since 1996 and I absolutely adore this town,” Zacchei said. “And what we realized last year is that, even though Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day are all great festive holidays, we didn’t have our own Pride.”
So Zacchei and his husband took matters into their own hands: The two started planning the long weekend back in January, working with Sussex Pride, CAMP Rehoboth, and Rehoboth’s queer bars to create what they hope will be the first of many Pride events in the beach town.
The long weekend starts with a 9 p.m. kickoff party at Freddie’s Beach Bar on Thursday, July 13. The rest of the long weekend includes yoga and a drag show on Saturday, a drag brunch on Sunday, and a dance party at Aqua Bar. The yoga and drag brunch are explicitly open to all – including those who don’t drink.
The duo started out with more ambitious ideas for a big Pride production, but realized they had to dial it down.
“We realized after talking to some folks at CAMP Rehoboth, at Sussex Pride that you really need a lot of infrastructure to throw a big Pride event,” Zacchei, a retired ophthalmologist, said. “So this year we kind of took a step back a little bit.”
Infrastructure wasn’t the only challenge – time was, too. Zacchei said he and his husband Jacob Anthony had to schedule around Pride events in Washington, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, Provincetown, Mass., and New York as well as Market Days in Chicago and Disney’s Gay Days – all while letting people enjoy Rehoboth’s summer. The two are also in Rehoboth only half the year – most planning took place from their Miami home, making things more difficult. The 13th through the 16th ended up being the sweet spot – not just because his husband’s birthday is on the 15th.
The days include a first – the first dance party at Blue Moon in three years, since the pandemic struck. Zacchei said it wasn’t easy to convince the bar’s owners to host one.
“There was some hesitancy because they’re not used to, for the past three years throwing dance parties or really having much going on at the bar after 10,” Zacchei said. “We’re really glad that they’re going to do this, and I think there’s even the possibility that they may just continue to stay open for dancing on the weekends, which would thrill myself and a lot of folks.”
The Pride events have a charitable side as well – some event proceeds support Sussex Pride and CAMP Rehoboth. Zacchei and his husband have been big CAMP Rehoboth donors for some time – one pool party at the couple’s house raised $2,600, he said.
The couple hopes to put on Pride events rivaling those of big cities in the coming years, closing down Baltimore Avenue and hosting block parties.
“There’s been a lot of excitement here and we’re hoping to stress that this is clearly not a Tony and Jacob show. We are just trying to be facilitators to bring everybody together to work together,” Zacchei said. “And I think that is coming along very nicely.”
This year’s Pride is meant to be a celebration of the entire community, the Philadelphia native said.
“The LGBTQ+ community has taken the rainbow and it has made it our symbol,” Zacchei said. And just like the rainbow has every color, we want every type of person to share, grow with each Pride and be part of it with us.”
Here’s the full list of events:
THURSDAY, JULY 13
9 p.m. – Kickoff party at Freddie’s Beach Bar, S. 1st St. in Rehoboth
FRIDAY, JULY 14
4 p.m. – Happy hour at Aqua Grill, 57 Baltimore Ave. in Rehoboth
9 p.m. – Pride show and dance party at Blue Moon Bar, 35 Baltimore Ave. in Rehoboth
SATURDAY, JULY 15
10 a.m. – Pride yoga at Poodle Beach, 1103 S. Boardwalk in Rehoboth.
12 p.m. – Beach fun at Poodle Beach
4-6 p.m. – Pride barbeque and games at Aqua Grill
8:30 p.m. – Pride drag show at The Pines, 56 Baltimore Ave. in Rehoboth
10 p.m. – Pride party at Diego’s Bar & Nightclub, 37298 Rehoboth Ave. Extension in Rehoboth
SUNDAY, JULY 16
12 p.m. – Broadway drag brunch at Goolee’s Grille, 11 S. 1st St. in Rehoboth
12 p.m. – Pride drag brunch at The Pines
2-6 p.m. – Closing tea dance at Aqua Grill