Surely the only thing better than celebrating Gay Pride is ringing it in on the beach? Well, luckily, Fort Lauderdale Pride allows you to do both! Fort Lauderdale Pride is the oldest Pride in Florida, and was first launched in 1978. The need to launch Pride Fort Lauderdale came in the height of protests surrounding entertainer and evangelical activist Anita Bryant, who led a discriminatory and hateful campaign that aimed to overturn a landmark gay civil rights ordinance in Miami-Dade County. Since then, the name and location of Fort Lauderdale Pride have varied over the years, however, the core value has remained untouched: to promote and maintain pride in Fort Lauderdale and support organizations and business that nurture the local LGBTQ community.
The varied nature of Fort Lauderdale Pride over the years has givin this pride a unique and inspiring history. With everything from protests and political parades, to lively parties and beach festivals, the rich program of events each year continues to keep pride enthusiasts coming to this dreamy LGBTQ destination on the sea. In 2017, Pride Fort Lauderdale celebrated its 40th anniversary on Fort Lauderdale Beach, attracting more than 40,000 people for the festivities. Today, more than 120,000 people attend Fort Lauderdale Pride to take part in the annual celebrations. Fort Lauderdale Pride has well and truly gotten into its groove now, and normally you can expect plenty of entertainment with everything from a beach party, block party, cultural events, and of course an incredible pride parade along the beachfront.
While Fort Lauderdale Pride is the apex of LGBTQ celebrations in the city each year, Fort Lauderdale remains a gay hotspot for gay and lesbian travelers year round. After all, it is estimated that Fort Lauderdale welcomes 1.5 million LGBTQ visitors annually, who spend roughly $1.5 billion. As President of Pride Fort Lauderdale, Milk Martorell, says Greater Fort Lauderdale is a community that celebrates diversity and inclusion in every way, each and every day, where Pride is our daily way of life.” Along with this, Fort Lauderdale is home to a lively LGBTQ scene, which is kept afloat by hundreds of gay-owned and operated businesses. It also boasts the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the country.
So if you want to not only celebrate your pride through Fort Lauderdale Pride, but also through engagement with a thriving and diverse LGBTQ community, be sure to pencil in Gay Pride Fort Lauderdale into your pride calendar this year. After all, sunny weather, revelry, and a whole lot of new friends are waiting for you!
Please note that due to the global Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, Pride of the Americas is postponed until further notice.
We mentioned before that Fort Lauderdale Pride is no stanger to shaking things up, changing its style and program from year to year. This could not be anymore true for 2020, with the inaugral Fort Lauderdale Pride of the Americas taking place from April 21 - 26. This will be a first ever event for Fort Lauderdale, which aims to draw attention to the issues faced by LGBTQ people in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although these parts of the world may be geographically close to Greater Fort Lauderdale, they are very far apart when it comes to the political and social acceptance of LGBTQ people.
This historic and transformational event will bring two continents and 35 countries together, welcoming everyone under the sun. It will aim to bring international attention to the inequalities that transpire not only in this part of the world, but also in many other regions of the globe, and it will seek to better inform and educate the world on LGBTQ issues and the community in general.
Pride of the Americas 2020 is expected to attract more than 350,000 people, with pride enthusiasts coming from Alaska to Argentina, and beyond. The event is best described as "53 countries. Two continents. One love," and with such a strong mantra, how could you resist penciling this event into your gay pride calendar. Things will officially kick off on Wednesday, April 22 with the Opening Night Gala and Mayor's Welcome Reception, which will take place at the Museum of Discovery & Science from 6pm. This will be followed by an official afterparty just to make sure all pride enthusiasts fully get into the spirit of Pride of the Americas.
As with any pride, the highlight of Pride of the Americas will arguably be the iconic pride parade which will this year transpire on Saturday, April 25. Kicking off at 12 noon, the parade will travel along Fort Lauderdale's scenic beachfront, and bring together people from all walks of life who will unite over shared values of love, pride, and acceptance. Things will conclude at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, but don't think this also means the fun will conclude. In fact, quite the opposite! From 12 noon to 9 pm, Fort Lauderdale Beach Park will come alive with the incredible and ever popular Beach Festival. Details including headline acts are yet to be revealed, so stay tuned!
Along with the Pride Parade and Beach Festival, Pride of the Americas will offer a six-day program of events catered to various tastes. Consider yourself a fashionista? Be sure to lock in the glamorous Runway Fashion Show, which will be taking place at the Seminole Hard Rock Resort & Casino at 8pm. It will feature designs by Bravo’s “Project Runway” alumni and local designers, along with male, female, transgender, and drag models. Alternatively, get your music fix on Friday night, April 24 at 'Unbreakable' the Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida Concert, which will enliven Fort Lauderdale's Sunshine Cathedral from 8pm. If you want to kick start your Saturday the right way (and you're brave enough!) take part in the Rainbow 5K Run, which will kick off at 6 am and finish at 9 am. It will sure be a challenge, but you'll certainly be in fine form for the parade to follow!
Pride of the Americas will conclude on Sunday, with the continued Beach Festival, running from 12pm to 9pm. This will be wrapped up with a spectacular fireworks display, and an official afterparty for those still reeling for some fun. Pride of the Americas will not only be a momentous chance to celebrate pride with people from across the globe, but also hopefully the start of a broader social awareness of the LGBTQ issues still prevalent in many parts of the world to this day. By drawing attention to these a global level, the event will hopefully make us one step closer to being a part of a more welcoming world. Be sure to pencil in Pride of the Americas for your 2020 gay pride calendar. We'll see you on the sand!
Photos © Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau