After months of visiting other pride festivals around the country, most recently in Las Vegas, Miik Martorell said he and the other organizers of next year’s “Pride Fort Lauderdale on the Beach” will be ready to put on the coming festivities.

“We’re actually doing a lot of things differently. We want to be inclusive to the community as whole. We don’t want it to just be a Pride event, but be a pride event that goes after all areas of the community,” said Martorell, president of Pride. In September, Fort Lauderdale officials approved Pride’s permit – the last big hurdle for the group to put on the event. “We have just a couple small adjustments left.”

Next year’s event, scheduled for Feb. 26 at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, will include areas devoted to family, with the help of South Florida Family Pride, sports, history, and seniors. The time is tentatively set for either 12 to 9 p.m. or 12 to 8 p.m. “Mark your calendars for this. We will be participating in having a family friendly area just for you!” wrote South Florida Family Pride on its Facebook page as part of its participation announcement.

There will be an area that promotes the decision by those who don’t want to drink. “It’s an area where they don’t have to feel the pressure to drink. A lot of people, who are recovering alcoholics, feel left out at Pride,” said Martorell.

Organizers also say they plan to celebrate the transgender community and “bridge the gap in that regard. We’re trying to cover our bases as much as possible. It’s just really about all of us getting together.”

Helping with a 40th anniversary of the history of Pride will be the Stonewall National Museum & Archives and the World AIDS Museum. In regards to sports, “We [got the idea for] a sports area when we went to Montreal. We want to get the leagues involved. South Florida has a lot of leagues.”

Last year organizers attempted to meld the party atmosphere of a traditional PrideFest with a family area, but it didn’t go over so well. One woman, who was shirtless but wearing pasties covering her nipples, was asked to put on a t-shirt because there were children at the event. She complained of being treated differently than the boys running around in skimpy underwear.

“It’s a double standard. This festival is sponsored by condoms and lube. You have guys running around here in thongs and assless chaps and I have to put on a top? This is ridiculous,” she told SFGN at the time. “Give me a break.”

The other pride festivals which Martorell and others visited for ideas include Austin, San Diego, Charlotte, Santa Fe, Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Fort Meyers, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Orlando and Philadelphia.

Admission will be free but parking at the beach is not. Other possible parking lots Pride is working on, connected via a free shuttle, are the Galleria Mall and Hagen Park in Wilton Manors. Those parking locations will be confirmed as the event gets closer. Organizers are also attempting to get a reduced rate for Water Taxi service to the event.

The public is welcome to attend the meetings held to organize Pride Fort Lauderdale, which are held every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Pink Sub in Wilton Manors. For more information, call 754-222-2234, check Pride’s Facebook page or visit PrideFortLauderdale.org.


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