Miami Beach Pride

By: Ian Maloney | May 8, 2018

Miami Beach Gay Pride celebrated its 10th anniversary in April with a week of activities culminating in a weekend festival at Lummus Park and a parade along the beach’s main drag — Ocean Drive. With blocks and blocks of vendors, tons of food and two stages, there was something for everyone no matter which color of the rainbow represents you. There was even a Youth District and Safe Zone sponsored by Pridelines, a local organization that provides services for LGBTQ youth and young adults.

The festival, which started on Saturday, April 7, really got cooking on Sunday as the sun came out, along with the gays and gals and about 10,000 of their friends and allies. Attendance on Saturday was estimated to be over 50,000, so the weekend total was over 150,000 people! When asked about how much Miami Beach Gay Pride has changed and grown over the past ten years, Executive Director Dave Cook said: “Since its inception in 2009, Miami Beach Gay Pride has grown from a neighborhood event to an event on the global stage with A-list celebrities such as Gus Kenworthy, Ross Mathews, Bebe Rexha, Mario Lopez, Elvis Duran, Iggy Azalea, Jordin Sparks, Gloria Estefan and Adam Lambert. Attendance has grown as well. An estimated 15,000 spectators turned out for the first Pride parade in 2009; an estimated 135,000 attended the event in 2017.” This year organizers estimate the festival drew more than 150,000 over the weekend with the crowd swelling to over 100,000 on Sunday.

This year, Sunday’s entertainment lineup was chock full of local and international talent. The main stage, set up on the southern end of the festival around 10th Street, was headlined by 80’s superstar, Taylor Dayne, who dazzled the crowed with her voice (that has held up surprisingly well over the years) and her body — she slayed it in a black strappy leather number that showed she’s definitely putting time in at the gym! Rounding out the Sunday lineup was the fab70’s Disco Queen and Grammy Winner, Thelma Houston, who has been a fan favorite of the LGBTQ community since way back in the day. She belted out some iconic disco hits including her own “Don’t Leave Me this Way.” Earlier in the day, special Guest Emcee Julie Goldman got the festival started during the opening ceremonies along with the sounds of DJ Smeejay. Celebrity Grand Marshal, Olympic Silver Medalist Gus Kenworthy capped off his first EVER trip to Miami by crowd surfing while broadcasting live to his one million Insta followers.

At the other end of the festival, along the northernmost part of Lummus Park, MBGP organizers set up a “Latin Stage” since, of course, this IS Miami and we do things here in both English and Spanish! Hosted by local celebs Marco Perez, as well as Poizon Ivy, the Latin Stage featured performances by Sol Ruiz Tribu and percussionist Angel Emilio, as well as local drag queens Teresita La Globos and the incomparable Adora.

More than 100 vendors lined the beach during the festival. From medical care, travel, and clothing, to LGBTQ service organizations and financial institutions, there was no shortage of companies that are supportive of the LGBTQ community.

Of course, no party would be complete without great food and drink and Miami Beach Gay Pride doesn’t disappoint. The food court area was chock full of street food faves like arrepas, pizza, gyros, and more. You could even buy a fresh coconut, have it opened for you and topped off with a shot of rum. The bars were stocked and serviced by Twist, Score, and other nightlife organizations. There was also a VIP tent where the “Who’s Who” of the Miami LGBTQ scene hung out with Gus Kenworthy, Julie Goldman, Roxanne Vargas (MBGP Ally Marshal and NBC6 on-air personality).

The party lasted all day and long past sunset. It was capped off by an unbelievable fireworks display that could be seen and heard for miles. There really is no party like a gay party in Miami — the diversity of the crowd, the outfits, the colors, and of course, the skin (thanks to the heat), make it a truly unique event that’s surely not to be missed! So if you have never been, put it on your bucket list!

If you want to get involved in Miami Beach Gay Pride, there are more than 500 volunteer shifts available during Pride Week and they will gladly use all the help they can get! Visit MiamiBeachPride.com.

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