It’s been three years, 2019, since Wilton Manors hosted a “normal” Stonewall Pride event.
COVID forced the 2020 event to be canceled entirely. Last year was marred by tragedy when a car in the parade staging area accidentally went out of control and killed another parade participant. Now, with one month to go, organizers of the 2022 Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival are finishing up plans for what they hope will be a flawless day on The Drive.
“Everyone feels as if this is going to be a great year and a great event,” Jamie Forsythe, one of the planners, said. “For our team, the excitement level is maxed out. The business owners on The Drive are anticipating and preparing for record-breaking crowds.”
The event is Saturday, June 18. The street fair is from 3-11 p.m. with the parade set for 7 p.m.
Logistically, plans are very similar to last year. The party will begin by Tropics at 20th St. and Wilton Drive. There will be three vendor booths between 20th St. and 21st Ct. and a stage. The entrances on the south end will be at 20th St. by Burgers and Beer, at the entrance from Hagen parking lot by city hall, and on the west side of 21st Ct.
Admission will be $5 until 4 p.m. and $7 thereafter.
Details Not Finalized
Forsythe said they expect up to seven stages stretching along The Drive. Most of them will be run by businesses along the route, with one by the south entrance and at least The Manor anchoring entertainment at the other end near Five Points.
The main stage at 6th Ave. will be the Black Excellence stage, as well as serve as the main reviewing platform during the parade, which will be broadcast live by Happening Out Television. Grand Marshals for the parade haven’t been announced yet, either.
But who will be performing on those stages? That’s generally still up in the air. Forsythe said acts on the main stage (which is programmed by the event’s organizer) haven’t been finalized. A check of websites like The Manor and Hamburger Mary’s doesn’t list their Pride lineups yet either.
As in past years, there will be plenty of local vendors ranging from local artists to voter registration to organizations raising social awareness. About 70% of booth space is sold, so there is still availability for groups that want to participate.
There are also plans for a flash mob to celebrate Juneteenth.
Eat & Drink
Food trucks will be providing food along with restaurants along Wilton Drive. There will be a food court in the parking lot of 21st Ct. as well as by Wilton Collective. Aside from the VIP area, all alcohol will be sold by bars along The Drive.
Expansion On Hold
Planning for the party began months ago, and there was a push to make it a two-day event, with a major, A-List headliner on one night and the parade the next. Forsythe said it just wasn’t possible.
“Society is still recovering from the effects of COVID and the lockdown. Many of our suppliers are short-staffed and not able to provide the support staff for a two-day event.”
That shortage includes security.
“We were concerned that we would not be able to fully staff a two-day event as many of our security partners are all already stretched thin. It was a joint decision that in order to provide the quality and safety of the event, we would remain at a one-day event this year.”
Wilton Manors Police Department is up to full staff, on paper. However, many officers are still in training, and a larger event would stretch the force beyond what is safe.
For the latest updates on Stonewall events visit StonewallPride.LGBT.