The 18th Annual PrideFest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches returns this weekend to Lake Worth at Bryant Park. The event will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

This year’s theme: Pride with GLEE, an obvious homage to the popular and gay friendly television show of the same name.

The festival will feature more than 150 gay-owned and/or gay-friendly businesses, churches, nonprofit groups, government agencies and entertainers. More than 12,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which is organized by Compass, the gay and lesbian community center of the Palm Beaches.

As usual one of the major highlights will be Sunday's 11:30 a.m. parade on Lucerne Avenue, and Lake Avenue in downtown Lake Worth.

The presenting sponsors aren’t usually considered a highlight of the event but Executive Director of Compass Tony Plakas is especially excited about this year’s sponsor Wachovia: A Wells Fargo Company.

Not only is the company their biggest sponsor yet, the company will be sending the Wells Fargo Stagecoach to lead the parade. The six-horse stagecoach has appeared at some of the biggest PrideFests around the country.

“It’s historic. They’ve put the stagecoach in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and now Lake Worth,” he said. “It’s a game changer. We’re really proud to have them lead the parade.”

Something else Plakas is excited about this year, is that former State Senator Dave Aronberg will sit as the grand marshal of the parade. This is another historic event Plakas noted. He said he believes it’s the first time a state senator in Florida has been the grand marshal of a pride parade.

“Those are two really big things,” he said.

Plakas said he expects that this will be the largest parade they’ve ever had.

“It’s going to be bigger and better than ever,” he said. “I can’t overestimate the impact of having Wells Fargo as a sponsor. People are just coming out of the woodwork to participate in the parade.”

On Saturday some of the entertainers include the Datura Street Band, drag queens Ricki Rollick and Melissa St. John, and there will be a special performance by Drag It Out. On Sunday, Velvet Lenore and company will rock the park with burlesque themed numbers.

Tickets are $7. Visit CompassGlcc.com for more information.

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