Fort Lauderdale will be the inaugural location of Pride of the Americas in April 2020, an international LGBT festival that is expected to draw people from several continents, including South America and Europe. Pride Fort Lauderdale is the organization which will organize and host the event.
“South Florida is the gateway to Latin America,” said Richard Gray, senior vice president for LGBTQ markets with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a press release.
The ten-day event will feature a beach festival with entertainment, parade, fireworks, a visual and performing arts festival, human rights conference, transgender health and lifestyle programs, business expo, dance parties for multiple communities within the LGBT community, and “Night on the Drive” hospitality events on Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors.
It’s estimated that the event could attract as many as 350,000 people, but Miik Martorell, Pride Fort Lauderdale president, said he’s not sure yet exactly how many people will attend. “I honestly don’t know what kind of number we can get. It’s a brand-new event.”
He’s a little more sure of the impact the event can have though, like bringing attention to the plight of LGBT individuals in countries where the LGBT community is under assault, including the Caribbean. “There’s a lot of hurt and hate that’s happening . . . Hopefully, Pride of the Americas will bring our community together. It could be amazing.”
But it won’t happen without some sacrifice.
Martorell said the annual Pride Fort Lauderdale event, which occurs in February, most likely won’t be held that year.
“We are only capable of planning one big event a year. I just don’t think it would be fair to do both.” He also said the availability of hotel space was a consideration in holding Pride of the Americas in April. “There’s just not enough hotel rooms available in February.”
Pride said it plans to partner with other LGBT organizations on the event, including the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, Stonewall National Museum and Archives, and the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center.
Martorell said Pride is also trying to partner with the Tortuga Music Festival to see if the two organizations can share some stage and equipment costs. Tortuga will be held before Pride of the Americas, but Martorell said the hope is some of the stages and equipment can be left in place after the music festival is over.
“It would definitely be a great way to open us up to some of the creativity and showmanship [of Tortuga]. We both save money [sharing costs]. At the end of the day, we have budgets. We don’t want to throw away money on things we don’t need,” said Martorell.
For more information, visit PrideOfTheAmericas.org.