Thirty-eight years ago Key West Pride existed as just a singular trot up the iconic Duval Street in celebration of the LGBTQ community. There was little more on the agenda than an amazing coming together of a tight-knit community to show the strength and unity of people of all shapes, types, and sizes.
Flash forward to June 7-11 of 2017, and Key West Pride remains as much, but it’s also grown into a week-long celebration party destination for the LGBTQ community to use as more than just a platform to shine, but a way to let loose and have a damn good time. Bluntly put -- it's a bad ass time, and you need to make plans to get in on some of the action.
According to Peter Arnow, a Community Liaison with the Key West Business Guild, Key West Pride Week is an exciting time that’s rich in tradition that only grows with each year the event is held. The tradition, Arnow says, is deeply rooted in a city that has long had the LGBTQ communities back.
“Key West Pride was originally established in the 1990s by the Pride Alliance to celebrate the local gay and lesbian population,” Arnow said. “It was low key because Key West has always been an accepting community. Today, Key West Pride has grown into one of the largest yearly events to celebrate Key West’s inclusive motto ‘One Human Family,’ which has been promoted worldwide and indicates a tolerance for all.”
Arnow said he’s most excited about the interactions with quality people that Key West Pride is sure to bring.
“I look forward to meeting and talking to gay and lesbian people who visit Key West from all over our country to help celebrate this event, and to hear about how they participate in Pride in their own local communities,” Arnow said.
The festivities kicked off for Key West Pride on Wednesday at 801 Cabaret for their annual Miss Pride pageant hosted by celebrity Key West drag queen Deja. The party continued on Thursday morning with some fun in the sun with the Pride Pool Party at 822 Fleming Street.
Picking up the ball once people dry off from the pool party is a drag queen show scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Aqua Nightclub located at 711 Duval. The party will be hosted by 2015 Fantasy Fest Queen Jodrae Campbell. To wrap the Pride festivities up on Thursday, Side Bar Key West (504 Angela Street) will be throwing a ‘Glow Party’ beginning at 9 p.m.
The festivities end with a bang at the Key West Island House located at 1129 Fleming Street with the Hot Naked Sunday’s Pool Party that will include free shots, raffles, giveaways, and a clothing optional attire.
Throughout Key West Pride there will be parties galore, and plentiful places to see and be seen. To get a full list of the Key West Pride events and find out complete details about the long-weekend visit KeyWestPride.org or call 305-294-4603.