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Grab your beads, boas and Venetian masks for a night of fun at a Mardi Gras themed East End LGBTQIA+ Pride mixer on Friday, Feb. 24. 

The event begins at 5 p.m. and the doors at RG|NY in Riverhead are open to anyone and everyone who wants to spend the night dancing to live music and enjoying locally sourced food and wine.

“Mardi Gras has a long history of being an open, colorful and welcoming celebration that allows people to feel free and expressive in whatever way they choose, and that’s our goal with these events,” said Michelle Demetillo, founder and executive director of Queerli, a community organization that promotes LGBTQIA+ inclusive events and safe spaces. “We’ve been wanting to hold more LGBTQIA+ events on the North Fork.”

Queerli invites guests to dance to a live musical performance by queer artist Rorie Kelly. Maui Chop House will be on site with their food truck, serving delicious and authentic Hawaiian cuisine. RG|NY is also offering 15% off all bottles and glasses of wine purchased during the event. 

Demetillo launched Queerli in 2021 with the goal of creating safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community through events and trainings from mid to eastern Suffolk.

She noticed that most LGBTQIA+ organizations were based in Nassau County or Fire Island and desired to create experiences where the queer community can connect, socialize and feel safe amongst like-minded individuals and allies — all while partnering with businesses across Eastern Long Island. 

“We want to develop trainings for businesses on how to be more welcoming and inclusive towards LGBTQIA+ staff and patrons,” said Demetillo. “We want to come together, celebrate being our truest authentic selves together and feel free to do just that, along with allies who strongly align with our mission.”

The event will be held in collaboration with North Fork Women, a community organization committed to health advocacy and education. They provide healthcare grants and offer financial assistance to lesbians on the North Fork of Long Island who are facing emergency health situations: difficulties caused by aging, illness, disability, or disruptions of physical or mental well-being, and those with inadequate or no health insurance.

“We are excited to work with Queerli on this event to  bring more awareness to both of our organizations and bring more people together in our community,” said Kristen Phelan, a board member for North Fork Women. “We love working with RG|NY and have collaborated with them in the past. This event is a wonderful opportunity to bring people together in a safe space.” 

The event is free and those who wish to attend can RSVP online here.