Music, food, and a fabulous parade are returning for the 30th Anniversary of Palm Beach Pride.

The two-day party is set to go down this weekend at Bryant Park in Lake Worth Beach.

Due to COVID-19, last year was a much more laid-back affair, with a “Pride Market” held one morning. Not this year! Dozens of entertainers are lined up for Saturday and Sunday, as well as a parade taking over the streets.

“We have more of everything,” Compass Community Center’s Michael Riordan said. “More food vendors, more retail vendors, a larger Youth and Family Area and of course, this year we are having a mass wedding ceremony at 1 p.m. on Sunday in the park!”

The wedding ceremony is open to any couple looking to get married or renew their vows.

Riordan says the parade will reflect the amazing simplicity of our community.

“It's going to look like a bunch of people who are ready to celebrate living their true lives and celebrating being themselves and the LGBTQ+ community. It's going to be huge.”

It will also feature a tribute to RaeJean Cox. She was a longtime participant in Palm Beach Pride, and died last summer in a car accident.

Miss Florida FI at Large, Velvet Lenore, is this year’s Grand Marshal and is being recognized for her tireless efforts to promote safe spaces for the community’s youth and serves as a beacon of hope for people everywhere who are looking to live their authentic lives.

“As a transgender woman myself, it is a clear message of Compass and Palm Beach Pride’s commitment to creating awareness and support for the transgender community,” Riordan said. “Black transgender women experience higher levels of discrimination and are the targets of hate crimes more than any other LGBTQ+ group. To see Velvet recognized as a leader against this level of hate is truly special.”

The parade will be broadcast by Happening Out Television Network.

Entertainers will fill the stage both afternoons. More than a dozen local performers are scheduled, including Melissa St. John, Anahi Santos, and DJ Will Mello.

The party gets off to a running start Friday evening. Night Runners WPB will be hosting their annual Pride 5k at Bryant Park at 7 p.m. Friday. There will be an official after party for the 5K at Mad Hatter Lounge, 1532 N. Dixie Hwy in Lake Worth Beach, from 9 p.m. to midnight. 

There will also be an unofficial after party for Pride with drag shows and more taking place at 25 S J Street in Lake Worth Beach starting at 6 p.m. both days. 

Plan Ahead

Parking will be extremely limited. There won’t be any spaces at the park, and anyone at Bryant Park boat ramp will be ticketed or towed. Rideshare is encouraged, but several streets will be closed on Sunday for the parade so you may have to walk a bit.

Firearms, coolers, food, beverage, alcohol, glass bottles or open containers from outside the festival grounds are not permitted.

 

Daily tickets are $8 presale and $10 at the gate (and along the parade route on Sunday). To buy tickets or get more details, visit CompassGLCC.com.

Texas Roadhouse Joins the Parade

By Sean Conklin

When Justin Smith started working at Texas Roadhouse in Boynton Beach, he didn’t go in thinking he was going to be an activist for the LGBT community.

But fast forward a few years and he’s now spearheading the chain restaurant’s first march in a pride parade.

Texas Roadhouse in Boynton is a longtime supporter of the LGBT community. The restaurant often sponsors the Pride Business Alliance mixers hosted by Compass Community Center and is the food sponsor for this year’s Palm Beach Pride event, donating two days' worth of food and over 50 volunteers for the event.

While sponsoring and donating to community events is a regular occurrence, this is the first time the restaurant is marching in the parade.

“I wasn’t sure if I’d have people interested, but I’ve already gotten 20 people to sign up to march in the parade,” Smith said, who serves as a service manager for the location. Previously he served as the marketer for the store, which is how he was able to make the relationship with Palm Beach Pride.

“The corporate office has marched in the parade in Louisville, Kentucky,” Smith added, “but they told me we would be the first location to march in a parade outside of that.”

It is possible that other locations have marched in Pride without the corporate office knowing or notating it, but this would be the first time that the corporate office can identify. Smith also designed T-shirts for the staff to wear while they march and got special approval for a Pride-themed logo from the corporate office. During the parade, they will be passing out snacks with free appetizer coupons. They will also be participating in the festival itself, providing information and handouts there.

Texas Roadhouse is located at 3001 Old Boynton Road in Boynton Beach, right near the Boynton Beach Mall. Keep a lookout for their staff at Palm Beach Pride, March 26 and 27.


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