As the sun rose over the intracoastal waters of Bryant Park, tents were being set up, gates put in place and police officers were getting situated with their coffees. Early Saturday morning is when the Annual PrideFest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches begins to take form. Our day starts at 6 a.m., and the finishing touches on the stage, vendor booths, tables, fences and signs all happen before the birds start chirping and the fish start jumping.

Compass puts on one of the largest pride festivals in the South Florida, and lucky for them, they have dedicated volunteers who return each year. Last year, other volunteers (like myself) were experiencing the production for the first time.

PrideFest volunteers are thanked with t-shirts, beverages and free pizza. With swag like that, it’s easy to see why volunteers are so excited to return and help year after year! In addition to sweet benefits, volunteers work side by side with staff members, and are made to feel like a special part of the Compass family and the LGBTQ community as a whole.

After initial set-up, PrideFest continues into Sunday with an early morning parade, with lots of sights, spectacles, community events and after parties. I would rate this volunteer experience a solid 5 out of 5 stars because the event was incredibly organized, it was really cool to see everything come together behind the scenes and I was introduced to a new group of extraordinary people. Although a lot of hard work, I truly appreciate the skills needed to put on this massive production every year.

I will definitely be back this year to lend a hand, make new friends and be a part of something amazing and encourage each of you to sign up and volunteer for this year’s PrideFest happening on March 29 and 30.