Complaints of chaos and disorganization reigned supreme during Saturday’s Stonewall Street Festival in Wilton Manors. Parking problems continue to plague the Island City.
“Once again the city failed to provide enough parking for the festival,” said John Fugate.
Festival attendees told SFGN they witnessed cars being towed from the CVS Pharmacy at the intersection of what locals call, “5 Points.”
While Terry DeCarlo, Executive Director of the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, said he was disappointed in the annual event, posting on his Facebook page that the 2015 edition was “one of the worst and embarrassing pride ‘festivals’ we have ever attended.”
DeCarlo observed that the festival was hastily put together.
“It seriously seemed like something that was thrown together in a few days!” DeCarlo ranted on Facebook.
Not all were negative about the event though.
“It is impossible to please everyone. However, all parties who chose to be involved made Stonewall a success - period. Attendance met or exceeded past years' Stonewalls, there were minimal public safety issues, and we had great performances by recognized entertainers,” said Wilton Manors City Commissioner Justin Flippen. “For the city's first year taking the reigns of Stonewall, I'd assess it a success regardless of any nay-sayers. In planning for Stonewall 2016 I look forward to even more community participation to build on this year's success and the pride we all get to show and call our own."
One week before the event Nick Berry, owner of Rumors and Courtyard Café on Wilton Drive, had serious concerns about the festival.
“Well I was kind of dismayed at the people who were putting this together,” he said. “It was very unorganized. I felt it was going to be a failure. I was about ready to ask commission to pull the plug.”
But, he said, festival organizers pulled it together in the last week.
“There was a 100 percent turnaround. And the crowd was as big as last year,” he said. “We set an all time record at Rumors. Everything went smooth unlike past years.”
Berry also noted that all of the bar owners he spoke with agreed that the festival was a success and better than years past.
“All in all it was a fantastic success,” he said. “I was shocked at how they pulled it all together.”
David Altermatt, a member of the First Congregational Church of Fort Lauderdale, enjoyed the festival and felt festivalgoers were enjoying it as well.