June is typically Pride month around the country and Key West is no exception to that rule. Unlike most cities, however, Key West stretches a weekend of parties and parades into five nights and four days of fun beginning with a kick-off party at Island House on Wednesday, June 8. It’s the only occasion in the year when the world famous men’s resort opens its doors to both men and women. Believe me this busy reception sets a festive tone for the super-long weekend.
For the past two years, and timed with Pride deliberately, Stolichnaya vodka has relied upon Key West’s colorful locale for the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic. The multi-part event unfolds in multiple venues from Thursday until Sunday until it crowns a winner: the best mixer of Stoli drinks in the land. Judges this year include Jai Rodriguez, Latoya London and Bruce Villanch.
Elsewhere, there are numerous activities to look forward to on the island legendary for its laid back style and its open and accepting atmosphere. Here’s a snapshot of what to look out for: Ms., Miss and Mr. Gay Pride contests will be happening at 801 and Bourbon Street Pub Wednesday through Friday.
There’s a tutu relay race on Saturday and a very colorful rainbow bike parade on Thursday. Fury Water Adventure’s ever-popular Tea on the Sea sunset sail happens on Saturday night. But be warned, tickets are limited and are they are selling fast and likely to disappear quickly.
For those of you who attend Key West Pride regularly here are a few new activities to enjoy:
Aqua has resurrected the The Newlywed Game, once a long-running TV show but always a lot of fun in a bar setting. If you and your partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife think you know each other back-to-front then show up to register at 5 p.m. on Thursday evening and put your confidence to the test.
Key West Contemporary Art is a new gallery in town located at 516 White Street, just opposite Island House. Specially scheduled for the summer the gallery is showing the work of gay artists Corey Thering and Nathan Emanuel. Thering, a Washington-state based painter will be showing a set of watercolors imagining domestic life in the tropics. Meanwhile, Emanuel embroiders scenes from pornography onto lace doilies found in Iowa thrift stores. Sounds like a must see to me! Receptions are scheduled for Friday from 4-7 and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
As per usual the whole event comes to a close with the Pride Parade itself, which happens along Duval Street on Sunday. It begins at 5 p.m. This year’s parade will have a family friendly transgender float and everyone is invited to show their support of the transgender community by cheering it on. You are welcome to help build and ride the float too if you get to town early. Go to “Pride Transgender Float” on Facebook for more information about that. The centerpiece of the transgender float will be the "STALL FOR ALL" a port-o-potty for everyone.