One Million Moms Can’t Stop This: Gay Days Plowing Forward

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Call off the mob of moms – Gay Days will be underway in Orlando at full throttle from May 28 to June 3 with pool endless parties, hot DJs, expos and the full gamut of Disney World theme parks.

This year marks the 23rd annual Gay Days, but it isn’t without a layer of drama. With turnout expected to be over 160,000, Disney will be peppered with jubilant event-goers showing their LGBT pride in red shirts – something One Million Moms (OMM) wants to put a stop to. The social media-based organization released an official statement insisting Disney cease to host Gay Days – an event the park does not coordinate in the first place.

However, interestingly enough, Disney’s recently appointed president George Kalogridis is openly gay.

But Gay Days President Chris Alexander-Manley, who has been with the organization since its inception, said it’s no skin off his proudly red-shirted back.

“Any publicity is good publicity. We have proven the haters wrong over the past twenty plus years. All the lies these type groups told back then have proven how ignorant they are,” he said. “Gay Days Orlando is one of the top economic events for central Florida and has the least amount of problems for an event of this size.”

Haters beware, there is one mom out there who has stepped up in defense of Gay Days.

Darcy Christ, who calls herself a “straight, typical housewife and PTA president,” has challenged One Million Moms with her own campaign: Millions of Moms for Love.

“One Million Moms was the final straw for me,” she said. “It’s time to take action. I truly believe more people come from a place of love than a place of hate.”

Her Facebook page garnered nearly 500 likes in its first 24 hours and has continued to grow.

The campaign has gone so well for Christ, she was caught by surprise when SFGN asked if she was ready for any backlash from OMM.

“I didn't even think about that. I thought, ‘this is what I believe and here we go,’” she said. “I feel very secure in my viewpoint on this.”

Christ, who lives in Dallas, has never been to Gay Days, but her brother-in-law and his partner are sponsors of the event.  This year, however, she’s flying out to Florida to get her first taste of the festivities and said she couldn’t be more excited.

Christ as a lot to be excited about - the weeklong event keeps expanding. Alexander-Manley said Taste of Gay Days in particular has grown immensely, with restaurant and beverage partners doubling from last year. On May 30, event-goers over 21 can enjoy a sampling of beer, wine, spirits and tasty hors d’oeuvres for the advanced ticket price of $25.

“Good food, drink, and friends. It doesn’t get any better,” he said.

Gay Days 2013 is headquartered at the Doubletree by Hilton at SeaWorld Orlando. There are constant pool parties scheduled throughout the week from noon to 3 a.m. The poolside entertainment stays fresh, with 24 rotating DJs spinning at the main lagoon and the women’s pool parties. DJ Jalil, who was nominated Best Up and Coming DJ in the 8th annual JustCircuit Awards, highlights the roster of DJs.

Attendees can also check out live entertainment throughout the week featuring performances by rapper Trina, club diva Deborah Cox, Go Go’s leading lady Belinda Carlisle and sidesplitting comedy with over the top, two-time Grammy-nominee Judy Tenuta.

Looking for a low-key experience? Bid on jewelry, gift baskets, art and more at the silent auction in the Doubletree Mediterranean Ballroom. Proceeds will benefit multiple causes including Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Afterwards, wander the hotel courtyard for a series of outdoor vendors with a wide variety of goodies and gifts to take home.

Dubbed as “a cruise on land,” GayTravel.com ranked Gay Days Orlando as 2013’s number one GLBT destination event. Its Las Vegas counterpart, now in its second year, was ranked number seven.

Gay Days emerged in 1991 originally as a single day, the first weekend in June, aimed to encourage the LGBT community to “wear red and be seen” while visiting the world’s most popular theme park. The event has evolved from a modest crowd of 3,000 to over 160,000 guests from across the world.  Gay Days is estimated to have injected over $100 million dollars into the Orlando economy since its inception 23 years ago.

The full calendar of events, online ticket purchasing and other information is available at GayDays.com.

DON’T MISS:

Tuesday, May 28

Gay Days Kick Off Party

5 p.m. – 9 p.m., $20 at the door

TRINA live in concert

Hip hop diva TRINA will turn up the heat with a live concert at Parliament House. Darcel Stevens will open at midnight. TRINA takes the stage at 1 a.m. Tickets are only $10 at the door.

8 p.m. – 3 a.m.

Parliament House

410 N. Orange Blossom Trail

Thursday, May 30

Gay Days at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

15th Annual Gay Days Expo

The world’s largest gay and lesbian travel, entertainment and business expo is open to all ages and open to the public! Browse over 100 vendors between 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

10100 International Drive

Gay Days 18+ Expo

Feeling sexy and sassy? Check out the adults-only expo for free.

11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

Florida Health - Orange County

Have fun, stay healthy. Orange County is providing free HIV rapid testing and Hepatitis A & B vaccines.

11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

A Taste of Gay Days

Indulge in a tasting of beer, wine, spirits, and hors d'oeuvres.

21+ with proper I.D. required

6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

Grand Lakes Ballroom

$25 advance, $30 at the door

P.I. @ P.H. Welcome Party

Flash back to Pleasure Island with DJ Brianna, a sexy Latin revue, the P.I. Explosion Dancers and a laser light show.

8 p.m. - 3 a.m.

Parliament House

410 N. Orange Blossom Trail

Free before 11 p.m.

$10 after 11 p.m.

Saturday, June 1

A Night of Laughter with Judy Tenuta

Sit back, relax and enjoy the musings of Judy Tenuta. Do you want to meet the self-proclaimed, “the most famous person that ever lived”? Snap up a VIP ticket for preferred seating and a meet and greet with Judy before the show.

Regular admission starts at $35.00.

Advance VIP tickets are $65.00 or $500.00 for a table of ten.

Doors open 7:30 p.m.

Show starts 8:00 p.m.

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

Great Lakes BallroomCaity Kauffman


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