A new year, a new Pride. Hollywood, Florida, is holding its inaugural Pride this Saturday from 1-9 p.m.
“You have an inaugural pride leading to 2022,” Jameer Baptiste said.
As marketing director for the event, he says it’s a chance to celebrate the city of Hollywood as well as the LGBT community.
“We have a unique opportunity. We’re not inundated with the gay community surrounding Hollywood. We’re planning to have a mix of individuals to come.”
Baptiste grew up in Pembroke Pines and has seen that part of South Florida grow in acceptance and as a welcoming destination.
“Not only the fact we’re having a Pride event in my own backyard where I grew up, but also the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index Score. To go from a 49 to 100 in a few years is exceptional and shows the city’s commitment to our community.”
The event will be just east of the railroad crossing at Hollywood Boulevard and Dixie Highway. Some streets will be blocked off and traffic rerouted for the event. Street parking will be available, along with parking at nearby public garages.
Anyone looking to use ride-share can exit anywhere along the perimeter of Pride.
While the event officially begins at 1 p.m., an opening ceremony and flag raising are scheduled for 12:45 p.m.
Dozens of local and national artists are scheduled to perform on two stages. The main stage will be hosted by a very familiar entertainer.
“First and foremost,” Baptiste said, “our host is the reigning Miss Florida FI at-large, Velvet Lenore, who is a staple in our community. She will be [on the main stage] from 1-9 p.m. engaging the crowd. She will also give a performance.”
Lenore will introduce local acts throughout the day and keep the energy flowing. The other stage will feature DJs and continue the party atmosphere. DJ Citizen Jane is scheduled to spin, and a Pat Benatar tribute band will remind everyone that “We Belong.”
There will also be a Youth Zone to welcome and celebrate the next generation of the LGBT community.
“At the dawn of Prides there wasn’t that much consideration for the youth, in terms of having fun and celebrating our independence, our equality, our fight and our advocacy.”
The area, in Anniversary Park, will cater to very young children starting at 1 p.m. There will be crafting, and storytime with local legend and activist Misty Eyez. Around 5 p.m. it will be a chill zone for teens, including demonstrations on Mocktails. Misty Eyez will return and talk about issues facing LGBT youth.
“We have transitioned from our Prides being about advocacy and more of a celebration that’s inclusive of families,” Baptiste said.
LGBT-themed films will be playing and the World AIDS Museum, located in Fort Lauderdale, will also have an exhibit.
Eat & Drink
There will be some food and drink vendors on-site, and will accept cash and credit cards. But Baptiste says part of Hollywood Pride is celebrating the neighborhood.
“We’re located in an area with a wealth of restaurants there. So there are places to go within the destination of the festival.”
For last-minute details, visit MyHollywoodPride.com.