Monday, April 22, 2024

Rain or shine, Easter Walk Long Beach will continue this weekend, carrying decades of Herstory

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Since 1997, hats and heels have graced the Broadway corridor every Easter Sunday to help raise money for St. Mary’s C.A.R.E. Center in Long Beach. Easter Walk Long Beach is a tradition started and founded by Rick White, whose drag name is Sheeya Mann, and continued on by Long Beach drag legend and how-the-hell-is-she-supportive-of-every-damn-event queen that is Jewels.

And come rain or shine, the 27th annual Easter Walk Long Beach will continue its tradition of uplifting those in need, celebrating queerness, and connecting businesses with patrons—all in a pair of heels.

This year’s Easter Walk Long Beach is happening whether the river or sunshine comes through Broadway

“So,” Jewels said, dragging out the vowel, “should we rename it to the Easter Umbrella Walk? Because why does the forecast call for an atmospheric river?”

She’s not joking: Rain is likely on Saturday in Long Beach, with highs in the lower 60s, and the rain is expected to continue into Easter Sunday thanks to “the broad trough of low pressure is gathering strength as it rotates over the northwest Pacific,” according to the National Weather Service.

“‘Someone left the drag queen in the rain’—should we rewrite the lyrics?” Jewels joked, nodding to Donna Summer jam. “What happens when it rains on Easter Walk Long Beach? Well, it’s never actually happened before, so we shall see. The only major point to make is that for the last 27 years, we have been raising funds for the CARE Center at St. Mary’s Hospital—and we’ve raised some $476,000 so far.”

Easter Walk Long Beach carries over two decades of Herstory, pain, and hope—all in a pair of heels

Once Sheeya Mann decided the South was more her flavor, traipsing down to New Orleans for both rediscovery and retirement, local legend Jewels saw an opportunity to do what she does best: give her heart out and raise a little money.

“When we kicked off this thing, it was really just a handful of people,” said White in an interview back from 2018, who still lives in New Orleans, but still comes back to Long Beach every year for the walk, including this year. “Now, it is a full-fledged community effort led by Jewels. She has created this amazing, incredible team of volunteers that work countless hours to make this event happen each year. She’s turned it into an essential community event.”

For those within the LGBTQ community, Jewels is a staple—and not just within the nightlife scene, but within their community as a whole. Her drag persona has her witty, sarcastic hand in everything that has to do with the gay Long Beach scene—including a platter of deep-fried pickles from Mary’s—be it a random night at the Falcon or hosting an event like Easter Walk.

That last part, particularly in this discussion, is important: Jewels is everywhere and she brought everyone with her, including a younger crowd that might not know the Herstory behind many of the events she hosts.

Easter Walk Long Beach 2024: What to expect, where to be, how to dress

As tradition holds, this year will be no different: The walk will begin tomorrow at Hamburger Mary’s with the Brunchettes’ famed drag show and then, beginning at Broadway Bar, will eventually stop at every bar in the Gayborhood before ending at the Silver Fox off of Fourth Street, if you are able to make it to that far.

There will be a gala on Saturday night at 8PM at Hamburger Mary’s for the event, as well as raffles and prizes throughout Sunday’s tradition. Bold, loud hats are encouraged, as are dresses, heels, or just your good ol’ damn self. Everyone is welcome as long as they leave the hate at home.

“Yup, this year the forecast calls for precipitation, so grab your best Easter umbrella and join the fun as the show will go on,” Jewels said. “If you would like a safer and dryer bet for joining the festivities, extended stops on Sunday include the opening Drag Brunch at Hamburger Marys on Pine Ave at 12:45PM, and the closing finale party at The Silver Fox on Redondo Avenue starting at 8PM. Rain or shine, let’s sparkle.”

Can we get an amen up in here?

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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