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The Strawberry Festival. (Photo credit: Jeremy Garretson)

The show must go on.

That was the prevailing notion on an overcast and drizzly Saturday afternoon last June, when planners and participants for the inaugural North Fork Pride Parade refused to let the less-than-ideal weather ruin the celebratory event. And the can-do attitude prevailed—right before the parade stepped off, the sun came out and a rainbow of marchers and onlookers filled Main and Front streets.

As a Greenport resident, I was particularly excited for the North Fork Pride Parade, the first-ever major LGBTQ pride event in the region. It was truly a special day, not only because it gave voice and visibility to the local queer population but because it brought together the greater North Fork community for a day of fun and joy.

This month, in honor of Pride Month and in anticipation of this year’s parade, contributing editor Chris Francescani spoke with North Fork Pride organizer and 2023 Suffolk Times Community Leader of the Year Lori Panarello, and many others involved in organizing the parade and street fair, about the history of the LGBTQ community on the North Fork, and the incredible tenacity and work and hope in humanity it took to make this parade a success. I think you’ll get the vibe from the photos of last year’s parade by David Benthal, which, if you didn’t make it last year, are sure to make you line the streets (and maybe even march along) this year.

Summer season is in full swing, and there’s so much to do and see on the North Fork. We’ve curated a list of events both big and small for you to use throughout the summer. Another handy tool found in these pages is our comprehensive beach guide compiled by Victoria Caruso. Whether you’re looking for a beach to take your dog for a splash in the sea or spend a quiet day reading a book in the sun, this guide has everything, including information about those pesky parking permits.

Have you ever wondered about all the self-serve farm stands you drive past on your travels? Staffer Nicholas Grasso was curious about how those trusting stands function and endure, so he spoke to several owners about the “honor system” of selling produce and products. While not everyone plays by the rules, Nicholas found that the loyal customers outweigh the bad actors.

The North Fork’s many lighthouses are an integral part of the region’s nautical history. Lilly Parnell gives an overview of the majestic beauties. Visit them with your family this summer and take some beautiful photos along the way (and send them to us, too—we’ll share on our Instagram page!).

If you’re one of the many boating enthusiasts on the North Fork, Ana Borruto spoke to Preston’s about the essential products they recommend, and also learned about their interesting and extensive history as part of the long-standing maritime community of the North Fork.

Ana also met Mattituck local and “spin doctor” extraordinaire DJ Henry Eau, who gave us his favorite places and things to do on the North Fork ahead of what will surely be a very busy summer of mixing and spinning tunes around the area.

And what’s happening at the old Greenport movie theater, you ask? A whole lot. The new North Fork Arts Center on Front Street is now open for a summer of first-run movies and other arts programs, and I spoke to executive director Tony Spiridakis about the nonprofit group’s ambitious and cool plans.

The warmer weather also means more opportunities to dine outside. Victoria Caruso visited Turkuaz Grill, a family-run Turkish mainstay overlooking the waterfront in Riverhead with ample outdoor dining space.

I hope you’ll use the guides in this issue to have a spectacular summer on the North Fork. June is just the beginning, after all—there’s a whole summer to explore.

Lee Meyer
Managing Editor