Pride Fort Lauderdale will host the fifth annual Caribbean PrideFest on Saturday, May 11 from 2 - 8 p.m. at Huizenga Plaza in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
After four years of being held at Richardson Park in Wilton Manors, the festival is ready to make the leap to the larger venue of Huizenga Park. The move will allow the free festival to feature more food booths and vendors, as well as live entertainment all afternoon. It also provides more venues for parking. Organizers are expecting up to 2,500 people at the festival.
Pride Fort Lauderdale, producer of the annual Pride parade and beach festival held each February took over responsibility for the cultural festival at the request of SunServe, the local LGBT social services agency that had sponsored the small festival for the past four years at Richardson Park in Wilton Manors.
Pride Fort Lauderdale's board and the Caribbean PrideFest committee include members of Bahamian, Cuban, Dominican, Haitian, Jamaican and Puerto Rican descent and the organizers are eager to broaden the festival's appeal and introduce the local LGBT-plus community to the rich traditions of the Caribbean communities that now call South Florida home.
"In South Florida, LGBT-plus people are basically free to live their lives the way they wish, but go just 40 miles off our shore and LGBT-plus people are ostracized, criminalized and face bodily harm just for being who they are," said Pride Fort Lauderdale President Miik Martorell, a Cuban-American.
And locally, Caribbean LGBT individuals don’t always feel included in Pride celebrations. "Even here, the Caribbean LGBT-plus community is sometimes overlooked, and we welcomed the opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the spirit of the islands in this unique setting," Martorell said.
The day-long event will feature continuous entertainment, and of course, food trucks providing a literal taste of the islands. Amara La Negra, Dominican-American recording artist and star of MTV's "Love and Hip Hop: Miami," headlines the festival, which will include performances by steel drum bands, singers, dancers and drag performers. Kitty Meow (Shawn Palacious), a Bahamas native, will be the mistress of ceremonies.
Following the festival, Noche Latina Saturdays will host the official afterparty at the Manor complex, 2345 Wilton Dr. in Wilton Manors.
Some of the sponsors for the event include: AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Our Fund Foundation, Ambiente Magazine, Unity Coalition/Coalicion Unida, Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale and SunServe.
Hourly parking is available at Governmental Center Parking Garage, 151 SW 2nd St., and Riverwalk Center Garage, 150 SE 2nd St. Scooter and bike parking areas will be available at Huizenga Plaza. Visitors from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties are encouraged to take Brightline to the festival.
For more information, go to Facebook.com/CaribbeanPrideFest.