Pride Fort Lauderdale: Paddlers and Kayakers and Drag Queens, Oh My!

Dorothy, I knowwe’re not in Kansas anymore! The four-day Pride Fort Lauderdale celebration, just keeps getting more elaborate as new events are added. Now drag queens are not only taking over the Ritz Carlton, but also lip-syncing for their lives in pontoon boats on the river!

Meanwhile, Wilton Drive turns into the Yellow Brick Road on Friday, Feb. 22, as the Pride Fort Lauderdale activities move to Wilton Manors for the evening.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20 three drag queens, Kitty Meow, Misty Eyez and Flip Flops’ home girl Amanda Austin, each in her own boats, compete for the title: Goddess of the River” challenge. In this outrageous aquatic fundraiser, paddleboarders and kayakers will vote for their favorite performer as the queens perform on pontoon boats at the George English Boat Ramp andMarina, Fort Lauderdale. 

The competition takes place at 7 p.m., with a 6 p.m. pre-party, and 8 p.m. post-party at Flip Flops. For those attending only the after-party, the suggested donation is $10, with all funds going to Fort Lauderdale Pride. Visit RabbleWithACause.com with tickets.

On Friday evening the fun comes to Wilton Manors for Pride on the Drive.” The celebration kicks off at 6 p.m.asdozens of bars, restaurants and shops roll out the rainbow carpet for a casual celebration in the “gayborhood.” Enjoy drink specials, discounts and live entertainment at participating businesses, all night, up and down Wilton Drive. A complete list of participating businesses will be posted at PrideFortLauderdale.org. 

Pride Fort Lauderdale teams up with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival for a fabulous drag brunch at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale Beach on Saturday, Feb. 23, starting at 11:30 a.m. The highlight of the event will be a tasty performance by Tony Award-winner (for “Kinky Boots”) and the star of FX’s critically-acclaimed series, “Pose,”Billy Porter. 

National radio personality Elvis Duran will be the host, along with his fiancé Alex Carr and emcee Shawn Palacious (aka Kitty Meow). Delectable dishes created by local celebrity chefs and performances by the region’s top drag queens will be featured. Tickets are $125 each.

Fort Lauderdale Pride Schedule

Friday, Feb. 22 

Sexy cirque troupe Air-O-Tic at Sunshine Cathedral. This high-flying act offers an LGBT flavor in each mesmerizing performance (repeats Saturday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m.). Tickets at OutlandishFL.com. 

Stonewall National Museum & Archives Gala – 7 p.m.

The Stonewall National Museum & Archives marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots at its annual gala at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale Beach. Actress and activist Kathy Najimy (“Sister Act”) will be the guest speaker for the gala, which also includes a silent auction, dinner and entertainment. 

 Saturday, Feb. 23

Carnaval Drag & Dine Parties – noon.

The festival gets started early at the many hotels and restaurants along SR A1A (and you can beat the traffic for the parade). Participating businesses will be offering entertainment, drink and food specials all afternoon.

Beach Bear Bash - noon

Music and entertainment will be provided by “My Big Funny Peter,” aka Peter Bisuito, the world’s first gay muscle bear comedian. Hot muscle bear go-go dancers dancing to DJ Herbie James, and more on the Sebastian Beach stage! It’s a casual afternoon party with a cash bar and a food truck. Please note: Beach Bear Weekend and Fort Lauderdale Bear Week are not affiliated with Pride Fort Lauderdale in any way. Events advertised on BeachBearWeekend.com are not organized or sanctioned by Pride Fort Lauderdale. Purchase at your own risk.

 Carnaval Parade – 5:30 p.m.

Pride Fort Lauderdale is hosting its first Pride parade this afternoon along scenic SR A1A from Sebastian Beach to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. This is the first parade ever held on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Get there early as more than 80,000 spectators are expected along the route.

Pride Block Party – 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

After the parade, head to 5th St. and SR A1A and dance the night away while enjoying live performances by your favorite local drag queens, musical acts and internationally-acclaimed DJs.

Sunday, Feb. 24

Beach Festival – 12 p.m.

Celebrate Pride on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Visit exhibitors and food vendors, enjoy music and performances on two stages and stick around for the stunning fireworks show at 7:45 p.m. American Idol’s Ada Vox and Todrick Hall perform live on stage, along with top DJs. More than 50,000 people are expected for the festival. Free admission, $5 donation requested at the gate.

OUTshine’s Big Night Out, 7 p.m.,

The Manor hosts as OUTshine LGBT Film Festival celebrates Hollywood’s biggest night, the Oscars, with a gala watching party at the area’s largest LGBT nightclub. Tickets at OutShineFilm.com.

Parking can be difficult and expensive along the beach. There will be free shuttles from Hagen Park and the Brightline station (but not from the Galleria and Clay Shaw parking lots, as in the past despite what is indicated on the Pride website). 

Parking is free until 6 p.m. at the Hagen lot. If you plan to stay for the parade and park in the Hagen lot, make certain to have the remote parking app installed on your phone and note your space number. 

For more information on all Pride Events, go to www.PrideFortLauderdale.org. For more information on all Pride Events, go to www.PrideFortLauderdale.org.

 


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