There will not be competing gay pride events in Wilton Manors this year during June.
For a couple of weeks it looked like there would be two Pride festivals during the same month. Pride South Florida was planning a festival in Fort Lauderdale on June 13 and hoped to plan a parade in Wilton Manors on June 14. Traditionally PSF has held their event in March, but cancelled that event a month ago, saying they needed more time in planning this year’s festival.
Just a few weeks after PSF decided on June as their new date, the City of Wilton Manors announced it would be putting on a traditional street festival as has been done in years past. Last week they formalized those plans. The city will hold a twilight parade on June 19, and a street festival on June 20.
In response, PSF decided it was in the community’s best interest to move their festival to October 10 and 11 in Fort Lauderdale.
According to PSF Chair Norm Kent, the Board of Directors of PSF unanimously agreed to move its festival, in order to avoid any competition.
“The city wanted a two day festival and street closure which PSF was not going to pay for. Now after years of avoiding the responsibility, they realize how important it is to them, and they are going to assume responsibility for the festival,” Kent said. “It’s a prudent decision — long overdue.”
Meanwhile, the new dates for Pride South Florida will coincide with National Coming Out Day and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
Event Coordinator Shawn Manning announced that the Holiday Park festival will promote both, along with the wealth of gay guest houses on Fort Lauderdale beach.
In Wilton Manors, Jeff Sterling, Chair of the Executive Board of the Wilton Manors Entertainment Committee, said the search is underway for volunteers. The committee is a part of the Island City Foundation, which supports public services for city residents, like education, economic development, and social services, and oversees Wicked Manors, and the annual tree lighting ceremony.
Over the last few years, at least four organizations have produced the Wilton Manors Stonewall event in June, many of which have lost money. Last year Pride South Florida oversaw the event, also losing money. So this year once PSF decided to move their event to June they decided to scrap the street festival and only produce a parade to keep their costs down.
Sterling said he expects the Foundation’s first year of handling Stonewall to produce a “revenue neutral” outcome. He doesn’t believe the event will lose money. The city will be better able to keep the costs down, he said, and because the city is running the event, some fees should be significantly lower. Sterling also said the event will be funded entirely by donations.
Asked about PSF’s move to October, Sterling said he was not concerned about Fort Lauderdale.
“I’m an advocate for Wilton Manors,” said Sterling, who also serves as President of the Wilton Manors Development Alliance.
No decisions regarding headlining acts or entertainment for this summer’s Stonewall event have been made yet.
“It’s going to be a lot of work and we have to build this organization and Stonewall is our first event,” Sterling said.