Gay Days, the popular brand known for its annual festivities in Orlando, is making a pioneering move out to the desert Southwest.
Gay Days Arizona, May 8-12, offers gay men and women a chance to see sunny Arizona in posh accommodations in an inclusive environment. The Arizona Grand Resort and Spa, inside Stone Mountain Park and Preserve, is the host site for five full days of activities for all tastes.
“There’s a lot happening out here,” said Ian Joseph, event planner, who expects 10,000 attendees for this initial entry of the Gay Days brand into Arizona.
Arizona, a maverick state of sorts, produced one of the conservative movement’s greatest heroes in U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater. It is known for its dry air, dangerous border with Mexico and, of course, the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The bulk of this year’s Gay Days activities revolve around Phoenix, the state capital and Arizona’s largest city. In addition to the customary pool parties and spinning DJs, Joseph’s company has a wide array of parties and activities planned from a 36-hole golf tournament to a Mad Hatter’s style Mother’s Day brunch.
The Grand Resort boasts a seven-acre water park, a great place to cool off as temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees even in late spring. Joseph admitted there were “some risks” involved in launching this event in a traditionally conservative climate, but noted Phoenix is a rising destination for gay travelers.
“There is a strong local community here,” Joseph said.
Gay Days Orlando began in 1991 as a single designated day where participants were encouraged to wear red clothing in a show of pride. The brand has grown to be a major production, eagerly anticipated in Orlando and, more recently Las Vegas, where more than 30,000 people attended the 2012 event.
Arizona is new ground and Gay Days organizers are hoping to strike gold with several different levels of passes and access.
Visit GayDaysAZ.com to choose your Gay Days Arizona package.