At the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys, one human family is coming together to celebrate pride. Rainbows are sure to be displayed throughout Key West this week as the city formally pays tribute to the diversity of its people.
From drag pageants to bartender battles to crosswalk dedications, Key West figures to be the center of the action for Pride activities. A formal dedication of Florida’s first permanent rainbow colored crosswalks is scheduled for Saturday, June 13.
“Key West is very happy to be putting in the first thermoplastic rainbow colored crosswalks in the state of Florida,” said Key West Mayor Craig Cate, in a news release. “It means so much to Key West to show our diversity, and it also goes perfectly with our ‘One Human Family’ Motto.”
The crosswalks meet at the intersection of Duval and Petronia Streets in what is often referred to as “Old Town.” On Saturday, Duval Street will be closed to traffic so that the Bourbon Street Pub can present its bartender battle, said Steve Smith, a sales manager and tourism promoter for the Florida Keys.
Fourteen bartenders, from around the globe, are arriving in Key West to compete in the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic.
Bartenders competing in the cocktail classic must have won in their previous city by creating their own drink. Participants are coming from Los Angeles, Dallas, San Diego, Boston, etc. Their concoctions are to be judged by celebrities such as comedian Bruce Vilanch and actor Jai Rodriguez, while models offer samples to the crowd.
Key West is home to roughly 25,000 permanent residents with approximately 8,000 to 10,000 tourists expected for Pride week. The fun begins Wednesday evening, June 10, as the Island House opens its doors to all for a kickoff celebration (5 to 9 p.m.). The Island House is typically a clothing optional all male resort.
Elsewhere, drag queens will compete for the Miss Key West title on Thursday evening at 801 Bourbon Bar, lesbians go after the Ms. Key West title on Wednesday night and the men gather at Bourbon Street Pub for the Mr. Key West contest on Friday night.
For a complete rundown of the events, visit www.KeyWestPride.org