People from all over Florida are looking forward to the state’s fastest-growing gay pride celebration. Miami Beach Gay Pride, now celebrating its sixth year, will be putting on an elaborate parade and festival with lively musical accompaniment. All that happens on Sunday, April 13. But there is an entire weekend chock full of events for you to enjoy!
Miami Beach Gay Pride was the brainchild of former mayor Matti Bower, who organized the event as an initiative of the city’s Gay Business Development Council. When the first pride was held in 2009, the city estimated that about 15,000 people came out to participate in this new event. Since then, Miami Beach Gay Pride has grown exponentially, from a day to a whole weekend. Last year, over 80,000 people participated in the Pride parade and festival, bringing in people not just from Florida, but tourists from all over the world who heard about the thriving and successful celebrations. There were 1,200 walkers and 66 different floats alone in last year’s parade.
Miami Beach Gay Pride 2014 kicks off on Thursday, April 10 at 7 p.m., with a VIP opening ceremony at the W Hotel (2201 Collins Avenue). On Friday night, April 11, MOVA Miami Beach (1625 Michigan Avenue at Lincoln Road) presents their fifth annual Friday Night Block Party; hours are from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Get ready for one hot party on the street; bring a friend and make more friends when you’re there! Special DJs La Trice and Tracy Young will be playing the sets that you’ve come to love from them. There is no cover for this event. Also on Friday night, starting at 10 p.m., there will be a women’s pride event called “Entourage” at Score (1439 Washington Avenue), produced by Pandora and Icandee.
The heat is turned up to eleven on Saturday afternoon, April 12, as thousands of beach bodies converge on Lummus Park (at the corner of Ocean Drive and 11th Street) for the second annual Beach Party. Enjoy the sun, the drinks and the music, and admission is free! Internationally-known DJ Brett Henrichsen will be providing the music at this event, with a special opening set by DJ Deanne. Dance from the afternoon into the evening. Event hours are from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The New Score (1437 Washington Avenue) plays host to the official Saturday night party on the Beach, but it’s expanded so much this year that the name has been altered from “URGE” to “SuperURGE”! Score Productions and Hilton Wolman want you to come on over anytime between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., so you can see why this event warrants being called “Super.” (Believe me, from what I’ve heard, it definitely warrants it!) DJ Abel and DJ Paulo Pacheco are reunited again for a night of massive beats. Tickets cost between $30 and $60 and can be bought at UrgeMiami.com. A women’s party, Ménage à Trois, produced by Pandora and Icandee, will be held at The Vagabond (30 NE 14th Street, Miami) from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. For more information, go to facebook.com/FlingMiamiBeachGayPride2014.
On Sunday, April 13, the long-awaited main events are finally here. Let’s start with the Pride Festival. Over 125 LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly businesses, vendors, and others open up their tents starting at 11 a.m. in Lummus Park from 10th Street to 14th Street. At 11:30, watch your favorite drag queens try to outrun each other for a $500 grand prize. Sponsored by Azúcar, the queens will be pounding the pavement in their stilettos on the corner of 7th Street and Ocean Drive in the second annual High Heel Race.
Finally, the Parade will traverse the length of Ocean Drive in the Art Deco district, and will run from noon to 1:30 p.m. The Parade Grand Marshals this year are Grammy Award-winning singer Gloria Estefan and choreographer and director Kenny Ortega.
This year’s entertainment is spread across three stages. At the Festival Stage (Lummus Park and 11th Street), emcee Elaine Lancaster will be performing with Courtney Act from season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On the DJ turntables is the fabulous Lady Bunny. At the Azúcar Stage (Ocean Drive and 13th Street), the best in Latin music and Latin DJs are featured for everyone to enjoy. At the 12th Street Stage, dancing is welcomed as DJ Sushiman and DJ Maryalice warm up the daytime crowds for the night, and the final event of the weekend, the Gay Champions Party. That party will be held from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. at The Clevelander (1020 Ocean Drive). DJ Cindel and DJ Aron will be spinning, and there will be a live performance from Beth Sacks.
Don’t want to go home just yet? You don’t have to. Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a five-day cruise (April 14-18) on the Norwegian Sky, taking people from the Port of Miami to the Bahamas and back. This vacation can be yours for as low as $469 per person based on double occupancy. To buy tickets, go to PrideCruise.com.
Hotspots Media Group is a proud sponsor of Miami Beach Gay Pride. Other local sponsors include WTVJ-TV NBC 6 South Florida, Hotel Gaythering, Miami Gay Blog!, Twist South Beach, Jackson Health System, Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority, Gale South Beach, MOVA Miami Beach/Brickell, Clevelander South Beach, Essex House Hotel, W Hotel South Beach, Magic City Casino, and the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Shortly before press time we were told by event organizers that, for safety reasons, parade and festival attendees should refrain from bringing backpacks or large bags, and if they do need to bring such bags, that the bags be transparent, for easy item identification. Miami Beach Gay Pride is partnering with the City of Miami Beach and the Miami Beach Police Department for a safe and secure Pride experience this year.
Last year’s parade…
If you are not going to the parade, tune in at Hotspots Media Presents: Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade Live