KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Visitors can celebrate equality, applaud the unveiling of a permanent rainbow crosswalk on Key West’s iconic Duval Street and attend the final rounds of a nationally renowned cocktail competition at Key West Pride 2015. Set for Wednesday through Sunday, June 10-14, the festival salutes diversity on America’s only subtropical island internationally known as a top gay and lesbian vacation spot.
The five-day schedule includes daytime pool and beach parties, late-night drag shows, on-the-water adventures ranging from snorkeling and kayaking to glass-bottom boat tours, a street fair, a 10k relay for tutu-wearing runners and walkers, and pageants to select Mr., Miss and Ms. Key West Pride.
Festival events are to begin Wednesday afternoon, June 10, with the unveiling of a rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Duval and Petronia streets, the heart of Key West’s LGBT entertainment district. Co-sponsored by the City of Key West and the Key West Business Guild, the rainbow crosswalk is to be imprinted permanently on the pavement connecting all four corners of the intersection.
A Key West Pride Tradition-the 2015 Stoli Original Cocktail Challenge’s Wednesday night kickoff gala gets the party started at this ALL-Welcome Party!! (One of those rare times that the Island House, rated by OUT Traveler as the best gay men’s resort in the world opens their doors to women.) Come and meet the 14 bartenders competing in the Cocktail Challenge. The celebration includes delicious appetizers and fabulous champagne served by the hottest male serving staff on the island.
The Stoli cocktail Challenge continues with Friday night run-offs and Saturday night final round. The contest features regional winners from LGBT bars in 14 North American cities, all competing to create an original Key West cocktail that communicates the island’s creativity and spirit.
The final round is set for 7-10 p.m. Saturday on an open-air stage in the 700 block of Duval St. Eight finalists are to concoct their libations for a judging panel that includes Broadway actor and former “Queer Eye” television personality Jai Rodriguez, Emmy Award–winning comedy writer and actor Bruce Vilanch, clothing designer Andrew Christian, actress and singer Latoya London and famed Key West female impersonator “Sushi.”
The winner is to be the honorary grand marshal of the 2015 Pride Parade alongside celebrity grand marshals Rodriguez and Christian. The all-welcome procession, to feature a 100-foot section of Key West’s famed sea-to-sea rainbow flag, is set to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 14, and proceed up Duval Street from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.
Following the parade, the grand marshals are to entertain attendees at a Sunday night showcase at Key West’s historic San Carlos Institute, 516 Duval St.
Key West Pride is produced by the Key West Business Guild, the oldest gay and lesbian Chamber of Commerce in the US. It is one of seven signature yearly events the Guild presents to keep the Rainbow Spirit alive and bright in the island city.
Event information and schedule: www.keywestpride.org or www.gaykeywestfl.com
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or www.gaykeywestfl.com
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