Summer Prides and Parties in Florida
Summer is a really busy time in the gay community in the Sunshine State. Not only is June Pride month, bringing hundreds of thousands of people out into the streets all the way from Tampa Bay to Key West, there's also the massively popular Gay Disney Week, which includes the One Magical Weekend set of parties. To top it all off, there are also many fun parties, dances and gala events. Here are a few events you must attend this summer.
GAY DISNEY WEEK
Gay Disney Week is one of the largest LGBT events in the country, and includes the popular Gay Days® Orlando events, which celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. The week starts off with a kick-off party at Artegon Marketplace in Orlando on June 2 at 6:30 p.m. Like last year, the host hotel for Gay Disney Week and Gay Days® Orlando is the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld.
A new addition to the lineup this year at Gay Days® is the Gay Days® Film Festival, which starts with a screening of "Naked As We Came" on June 3. Also on June 3, the popular pool parties start and will go on every day through June 7. Just like last year, the pool parties are divided up into the regular Gay Days® sanctioned parties, as well as parties sanctioned for women and for the bear community. On June 4, the Gay Days® Expo will begin and will be open through June 7. On June 5, a new Miss Gay Days will be crowned.
If you are familiar with Gay Disney Week, each day there is a different theme park for the gay community to enjoy. On June 4, the gay community is requested to visit Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. On June 5, the gays will have their day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. On June 6, tens of thousands of gay people decked out in red will descend on the Magic Kingdom for the 25th straight year. Then, on June 7, Gay Disney Week visitors are welcomed with open arms at Epcot.
There will also be a number of parties at clubs across Orlando. Parliament House will be welcoming a number of well-known recording artists to perform on-stage near the pool area. Color Me Badd will be performing on June 5, Wilson Phillips will perform on June 6, and Salt-N-Pepa will close out Gay Disney Week on June 7.
For more information, including a full schedule of Gay Days®-sanctioned events, and how you can purchase tickets, visit gaydays.com.
ONE MAGICAL WEEKEND
One Magical Weekend will be celebrating their 25th anniversary as well this year with a new host hotel: the B Resort and Spa. Guests are welcomed to "B Magical" with the One Magical Weekend crew here at the B, a new hotel and resort that has already won quite a few "best of" awards in Central Florida.
One Magical Weekend's 25th anniversary parties start on June 5 and include the Therapy pool parties, right on the grounds of the B Resort and Spa, the Abracadabra after-hours parties, which run from 2 to 8 a.m. and are also held at the B Resort and Spa, and of course, the signature events: Riptide at Typhoon Lagoon (June 5), Red: Unmasked at Epcot (June 6), and the E-Tea Dance at Epcot (June 7). The DJs for the signature events are Phil B and Joe Gauthreaux (Riptide), Paulo (Red: Unmasked) and Grind (E-Tea Dance). There are a slew of world-renowned DJs who will be spinning at the Therapy pool parties (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and the Abracadabra after-hours parties.
To find out more about the daily events, the new host hotel, and bios of all the DJs who will be playing their sets for you during One Magical Weekend, visit onemagicalweekend.com. You can buy tickets by going to the One Magical Weekend website and selecting "Buy Tickets" on the upper-right hand corner.
KEY WEST PRIDE
Key West Pride this year will be held from June 10-14. The events kick off at Island House Gay Hotel and Resort as Stoli presents the Key West Cocktail Challenge. This event will go on for multiple nights until a winner is crowned on June 13. On June 12, Michael Walters will be impersonating the legendary Dame Edna Everage in a one-man show called "Purple Reign" at Waterfront Playhouse. On June 13, the Key West Pride Street Fair will be set up along Duval Street from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Finally, on June 14, the long-awaited Key West Pride Parade will take thousands of revelers down Duval Street from the Gulf to the Atlantic. The parade begins at 5 p.m.
MDGLCC SAPPHIRE GALA
The Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce's 14th annual gala and awards celebration, the Sapphire Gala, will be held on June 13 starting at 6 p.m. at the 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach. This awards ceremony honors people and corporations that are allies to the LGBT community in Miami-Dade County. DecoBike will receive the award for Business of the Year, Cindy Brown will receive an award for Businessperson of the Year, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts will receive the Non-Profit of the Year Award, and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine will be recognized with the Bob Balsam Civic Achievement Award. To find out more about this gala, and to purchase tickets, visit gaybizgala.com or call (305) 673-4440.
Polk Pride, formerly named Lakeland Pridefest, is the largest Pride celebration between Tampa Bay and Orlando, and will be held this year from June 19-21. The events kick off with a special one-man show presented by Leslie Jordan on June 19 at 8 p.m. at The Polk Theatre. Polk Pride will be held the next day, June 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Munn Park. There will be vendors, community organizations, entertainment, food and beverages, and fun for everyone. Afterwards, there will be a big Polk Pride afterparty at Club Main Street starting at 9 p.m., featuring entertainment hosted by show director Kathryn Nevets.
WILTON MANORS STONEWALL
The Wilton Manors Stonewall Street Festival and Parade, formerly called Stonewall Summer Pride, will be returning to Wilton Drive on June 20. The festival starts at 1 p.m. and will feature booths and kiosks set up by vendors, non-profit organizations, service organizations, and other groups that are allied with the LGBT community in South Florida. The headlining entertainment act this year is R&B girl group En Vogue. The parade, one of the most-anticipated events of the season, will begin its trek down Wilton Drive at 6 p.m. For more information, visit wiltonmanorsstonewall.com.
St. PETE PRIDE
St. Pete Pride is one of the largest Pride celebrations in the Southeast and it is back for the 13th year, with all the festivities happening between June 24-28. The Stonewall Reception kicks off Pride week on June 24 at 7 p.m. at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts, where a veritable who's who of the Tampa Bay LGBT community will gather. The annual 27/82 concert will be held on June 26, featuring Alex Newell, "Unique" from the FOX TV series "Glee." Florida's only night parade was a big success last year, and they aren't changing a thing this year: the floats will roll down St. Petersburg's Central Avenue at sunset on June 27. Then, during the day on June 28, over 300 exhibitors will get together and present the St. Pete Pride Festival. For more information on St. Pete Pride, visit stpetepride.com.
The 14th annual Stonewall Ball is one of two fundraisers that Compass, the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Palm Beach County, organizes each year. Over 1,000 people, ranging from grassroots supporters to businessmen to politicians representing constituents up and down the Treasure Coast, will enjoy a night of camaraderie at the Harriet Himmel Theater at CityPlace in downtown West Palm Beach on June 27. There will be food, drinks, entertainment, and a silent auction. Costume attire is encouraged. To buy tickets, visit compassglcc.com.
MIAMI BEACH BRUTHAZ
Miami Beach Bruthaz, the premier LGBT gathering for people of color in South Florida, will take place this year from July 16-20. The host hotel for this event is the Congress South Beach, which will host a rooftop happy hour kick-off event at 5 p.m. on July 16. Afterwards there will be an official welcome party.
On Friday, July 17, there will be two big events. First, at 7:30 p.m., there is Bruthaz SpeakUP, a red carpet cocktail event, featuring Darryl Stephens, the star of Logo's Noah's Arc. Later on, starting at 11 p.m., there will be a White Masquerade party featuring dancer, singer and actress Demetria McKinney. You may know her from "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," among other TV shows; her single "100" went to #4 on the iTunes R&B Charts.
The weekend is filled with fun and sun: there's a rooftop pool party at the Congress South Beach on July 18, followed by a group beach day at Haulover Beach on July 19. For more information on Miami Beach Bruthaz and how you can purchase tickets to these events, visit mbb2015.com.
PRIDELINES MASQUERADE BALL
Pridelines, South Florida's oldest LGBT service agency, will be presenting their annual benefit, the Masquerade Ball, on August 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. There will be live music, dancing, a silent auction, and a formal dinner. All proceeds benefit Pridelines, which works to ensure that South Florida LGBT young people, ages 14-24, can thrive in save and nurturing environments. For more information, and how you can purchase tickets to this event, visit pridelinesmasquerade.com.