From a foam party to men in tutus this year’s 5-day Key West Pride celebration is sure to keep guests entertained. This year’s event takes place all over the island from June 11 to June 15.
Organizers expect more than 7,500 people to attend the wide variety of activities and events including pool and dance parties, watersports and barbeques. The annual parade will feature openly gay Iraq war veteran Rob Smith who will serve as this year’s grand marshal. KWP event coordinator Matt Honn said “We are always proud that we have our mayor and all six city commissioners in our parade.”
Key West has been a gay friendly destination since the early 1940s, and elected America’s first openly gay mayor, Richard Heyman in the 1980s. But the island has always attracted visitors who long for a “bohemian” lifestyle and “free to be” attitude.
The Pride celebration kicks off Wednesday, June 11 with a “Bow Ties and Bubbly” party, now a Key West Pride tradition, featuring poolside fun between from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the world famous Island House. The event will be followed by the 2014 Miss Key West Pride contest at the Cabaret Bar.
Another highlight will be the annual parade on Sunday, June 15 featuring Rob Smith, author, public speaker and LGBT activist. Key West Mayor Craig Cates along with openly gay police Chief Donnie Lee will be joined by the local joint military color guard who will escort the parade down Duvall Street.
Start the day off at noon with the Coconut Pride shop crawl, where local retailers will offer a special KWP discount and as well as other promotions. Then head over to the Equator at 4 p.m. for a barbeque and pool party. Save your appetite for the tropical buffet on the Key West Sunset Dinner Cruise before dancing the night away at Aqua for a giant dance party.
At noon, bring your swim trunks as two parties converge — one for the boys at the Island House and one for the girls at Alexander’s Guesthouse. That night check out the Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour, a fascinating and spooky look at the city’s most haunted sights. If you prefer something less hair-raising head over to the Bourbon Street Pub for the annual Mr. Pride contest and party.
The weekend starts off with a bang and, of course, your favorite assorted color tutu. Grab your friends for a fun and exciting challenge with the Key West Pride Tutu 10K Relay. Visit www.tuturelay.com for more information.
After you rest up from the relay head over to the annual Key West Pride Street Fair which takes place between on Duval Street between 10 p.m. and 7 p.m. While there, take time to visit the wide array of gay friendly plethora of gay friendly shops, bars and restaurants.
Close out the night with the infamous Purgatory Foam Party at the Bourbon Street Pub at 10 p.m. Fetish attire is encouraged as this steamy party – labeled by KWP organizers as “where the bad boys and bad girls come to play” – goes late into the night.
On the last day of Pride make sure to start off at the Metropolitan Community Church with their Pride service. Then head over to the parade and finally KWP will conclude with Dance the Nite Away taking place at Aqua Night Club.
Visit www.KeyWestPride.org and Pride's official Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/KeyWestPride for a detailed listing of the events.