Pridefest Key West Means Equality and Diversity

Events, Things to Do — By Julie on May 14, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Key West is renowned worldwide as a leading gay and lesbian vacation destination, and every year salutes diversity with PrideFest 2010, coming up June 9-13. The festival recognizes the freedom and openness to be found in the island city.

A portion of 2,000 flag carriers reach the harbor in Key West, as they dip one end of a 1 1/4-mile-long rainbow flag in the Gulf of Mexico. The mammoth banner, that stretched from the Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean (top of photo) was created by Gilbert Baker and commemorated the anniversary of the gay and lesbian icon that Baker, a San Francisco resident, conceived in 1978. The flag required 17,600 linear yards of fabric, weighs more than 5,000 pounds and was a highlight event of the 2003 PrideFest Key West celebration. Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

Festival highlights include a “Broadway Cares” concert starring Broadway and screen actor Kevin Spirtas and Broadway regular and recording artist Felicia Finley.

Among PrideFest’s featured events are men-only and women-only champagne sunset sailing excursions in Key West waters, the Carnivale Street Fair and “Dancing on Duval” in the 700 and 800 blocks of Key West’s legendary Duval Street, forums and films, a “pink dollar” shopping stroll, a guided trolley tour spotlighting the history and contributions of Key West’s LGBT community, parties galore and contests to select Miss PrideFest and Mr. and Ms. Key West Pride.

Attendees can mix, mingle, get festival details and receive assistance from a personal concierge Thursday through Saturday at PrideFest’s hospitality suite. Hosted by Swankey Events upstairs at 623 Duval St., the suite is to be open noon to 8 p.m.

The 2010 festival culminates in the Equality and Diversity Pride Parade down Whitehead and Duval streets. Scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 13, the parade is to include floats, cars and walking groups celebrating Key West’s enthusiastic diversity.

One Human Family is the official philosophy of the island community of Key West and the Florida Keys; a simple motto which serves not only as a shining example of daily life there, but as one that is openly shared with global neighbors throughout the world.

Tags: Florida Keys, Florida Keys and Key West, gay and lesbian events, gay pride, Key West, Pridefest