The Mirror: Pride for Miles in the Sunshine State

Orlando has one of the largest, but could St. Pete have it beat? Take a look at how Florida’s Pride events measure up against one another.

Florida’s varied and expanding Pride events showcase the range, diversity, and growth found within its LGBT community. While some organizers and events offer a long standing history of LGBT activism and community involvement others will be creating new inroads among LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs while promoting Florida as a new gay wedding and family travel destination.

The Mirror highlights some of Florida’s biggest and up and coming LGBT Pride celebrations, broken down by region.

Southwest Florida

Manatee Gay Pride
Date: March 19 2016
Location: Bradenton, Manatee County
Website/Contact Info:
ManateePride.com

Southeast Florida

Key West Pride
Wednesday - Sunday, June 10 – 14
KeyWestPride.org

Key West Pride is organized by the Key West Business Guild (KWBG,) a nonprofit that helps promote Key West to LGBTA travelers nationally and internationally. The Guild estimated their work helps to attract about 250,000 LGBTA travelers to Key West each year. The 2015 full schedule of events is still in the works.

Stonewall Pride, Wilton Manors
Saturday, June 20
WiltonManorsStonewall.com

Formerly known as Stonewall Summer Pride, this year’s Stonewall Pride will be organized by the Island City Foundation, a division of Wilton Manors Entertainment Group. The Summer Pride Twilight Parade will ride at dusk, and the Pride Street Festival will take place Saturday from noon till 11 p.m. Wilton Drive will be closed from Five Points to NE 20th Street for both events.

Saturday’s festival entertainment will play out across three stages and will include performances from Sheila E. Besides the food trucks and drink tents, arts and crafts vendors and a Kids Zone will also be featured.

Fort Lauderdale Pride
Saturday & Sunday, Oct 10 – 11
PrideFortLauderdale.org

Organized by Pride South Florida, Fort Lauderdale Pride will take place at Holiday Park and the War Memorial Auditorium, 800 NE 8th Street. The theme, ‘We’re Coming Out,’ is in recognition of National Coming Out Day on Oct 11. The festival also coincides with the Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

The outdoor area will include more than 150 vendors and food areas with frozen cocktails, beer, a dance tent, the Miss Pride South Florida – Plus Contest and more attractions to be announced.

This will be Pride South Florida’s 38th annual event, and the 4th held at the auditorium. Partnered to host Fort Lauderdale Pride are the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau and the AIDS Health Care Foundation. The Aids memorial quilt will also be on display.

Pridefest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches
March 2016
CompassGLCC.com/pf.html            

The 22nd annual Pridefest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches’ theme was “We Are #Winning.” The two-day event took place in the newly renovated Bryant Park. Along with the addition to the park came the newly added Kids’ Zone, in keeping with the festival’s family-friendly appeal.

Entertainment included appearances by Michaela Paige of The Voice, Lillie McCloud of The X Factor, and drag performers Melissa St. John, Ricky Rollick, Velvet Lenore, and K-Otic Force.

Sunday’s “We’ve Got Spirit” parade featured more than 50 LGBT and allied groups, charities, organizations, and local sponsors in their favorite champion sports gear, celebrating a victorious year for the LGBT community.                 

The 2014 Pridefest drew its largest crowd yet of 22,000 attendees. Organizers Compass GLCC, hoped to bring in 25,000 this year. Compass’ programs focus on HIV prevention, awareness, testing, and care, and also youth outreach.

Miami Beach Gay Pride
April 16, 2016 (tentative date)
MiamiBeachGayPride.com

Miami Beach just wrapped up its seventh annual gay pride. The two day celebration featured a beach party, festival, a 5k pride run, and parade along Ocean Drive and in Lummus Park. Mario Lopez served as Grand Marshal. Saturday saw an early start, kicking things off with a 9 a.m. 5k run along a three mile trail through South Beach.

While still young, the pride festival drew more than 100,000 visitors in 2014. 2015 is expected to bring in more than 125,000 and more than 125 LGBT friendly businesses.

Miami Beach Gay Pride was originally established by former Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower, as an initiative of the Miami Beach Gay Business Development Council. The event is also supported by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners and Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority.

Central Florida

Treasure Coast Pride, Port St. Lucie*
April 2016
PrideOfTheTreasureCoast.org/pridefest-2015

The Port St. Lucie Civic Center on the corner of US1 and Walton Road will played host to the 11th annual Treasure Coast Pride on Sunday April 26 from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Performances included DJ Joshua Atom, Jennell Eve and Random Play, Dominique Taylor, Mr. Unlimited FMI Shook ByNature, Organized Khaos, Buddy Love, Alyssa Monroe and others.

Organizations who have previously benefitted from Pride of the Treasure Coast’s fundraising efforts include PFLAG of Vero Beach, People Care Center, Treasure Coast PFLAG, Council on Aging of St. Lucie, Project Response, Camp Heartland, Harvest Food & Outreach Center, SafeSpace, and ONE Treasure Coast.

St. Pete Pride
Wednesday – Sunday, June 24 - 28
StPetePride.com

St. Pete starts off its Pride celebration with the Stonewall Reception, 7 – 9 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts. Friday the 26th will feature the “27/82” benefit concert, presented by St. Pete and Sarasota Pride. Saturday’s LGBT Pride Parade will travel along Central Ave. from 5:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday’s Pride Festival will take place from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. also along Central Ave.

Proceeds will go to the St. Pete Pride Community Grants Program, benefitting Tampa Bay area non-profit groups. Organizers expect to have more than 300 exhibitors, and more than 20,000 visitors to Sunday’s Festival.

Space Coast Pride,
Saturday September 26
Melbourne FL
Website/Contact Info: SpaceCoastPride.org


Come Out With Pride (COWP), Orlando
Saturday, October 10
ComeOutWithPride.com/#

Also aligned with National Coming Out Day is Come Out With Pride Orlando. The festival includes over 150 multiple full bars and beer tents, entertainment on the main stage and live music throughout Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando. The festival begins at noon, with a parade at 4 p.m. and a fireworks show in the evening.

COWP’s 2014 pride fest saw attendance at 150,000, making it the largest LGBT pride event in its tenth year raising more than $10,000for organizations including The Barber Fund,  Zebra Coalition,  Hope & Help,  Libby’s Legacy, Sounds of Freedom Marching Band & Color guard, The Harvey Milk Foundation, Proud Veterans of America, Christ Church Unity’s wellness event, Pride 4 tots  and Nathaniel’s Hope.

Come Out With Pride Inc. was founded as part of the Metropolitan Business Association and the Central Florida LGBT chamber of commerce.

Northwest Florida

Tallahassee Pridefest  
April 18, 2015 / 2016 TBA
Tallahassee (Leon County, NW)
Pridefest.FamilyTreeCenter.org

Sexacola Pride
May 21 – 24/ 2016 TBA
Pensacola    (Escambia County, NW district, end of panhandle nearing AL)
SexacolaBeach.com

Northeast Florida

Jacksonville Pride
Oct 3 - 4
Jacksonville, FL   (Duval County – NE)
RiverCityPride.com


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