Featuring More than Just One Day of Events
As you know, Hispanic Heritage and LGBT History Months intersect the first two weeks in October. The Celebrate Orgullo Festival started four years ago to showcase both Hispanic and LGBT Pride, and was the first such event of its kind in the United States. Larger and more successful than ever, this year’s Celebrate Orgullo Festival will be held on Saturday, October 4 from noon to 8 p.m. at the corner of Collins Avenue and 73rd Street in Miami Beach.
This year the Celebrate Orgullo Festival presents two stages with local, national and international artists. Entertainers appearing at the festival include Giovanni Falchetti, Barbara Alonso, Jei, Rych Niel featuring DJ Prince, Lady M, Danilo Reynier, Estefany, Jayquan, Yukioh, DC Cruz, Nelson O, DJ Maximus 3000, DJ Citizen Jane, DJ Romullo Azaro, Floyd the Rock Artist featuring Tanya, Marco Perez, Vinna Rouge, Shanaya Bright and Jessica Lane. Also at the festival, there will be over seventy booths showcasing Hispanic cultural diversity, including international food vendors, artists, street performers, face painters, carnival games, and dancing!
Major events happening during the Festival include “Show Your GayFace,” a photographic art project by Ashley Kolodner, who will be on hand to take photos of all attendees; the “Mini Kiki Beach Ball” ballroom dancing/vogue contest, going on from noon to 2 p.m. and sponsored by the Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade County; and “Shorts Under the Stars,” starting at 7:30 p.m., presented in partnership with the Miami Short Film Festival and hosted by Borinquen Health. “There will be five Hispanic LGBT-themed movies presented free of charge. Bring a blanket, bring a buddy, and watch the movies under the stars at Orgullo,” Herb Sosa, event organizer and president of Unity Coalition|Coalición Unida, said.
Sosa was very excited about one new Festival addition in particular, which is the Writers’ Room, going on from 1 to 8 p.m. and presented by the Betsy Hotel South Beach. “It’s the first ever Hispanic LGBT writers’ salon…we’re bringing in writers from across the globe to showcase their work. Not only can you listen to the writers and attend their Q&As, there will also be an open mic poetry slam at the Festival.” The poetry open mic starts off the writers’ salon at 1 p.m. and ends it at 7 p.m., and in between there will be a writers’ workshop and writer Q&As. If you’d like to meet the writers in person before the festival, you can also attend the mixer on Wednesday, October 1 at 7 p.m. at the LGBT Visitor Center (1130 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach).
“This year we’re paying special attention and focus on HIV and AIDS within the youth community,” Sosa said, explaining how this year the Festival will be giving back to even more segments of society. “We’re putting together seven health organizations that will all be present at the festival offering free HIV testing and health counseling.”
Celebrate Orgullo is hosting many events in the run-up to October 4 as well. “It’s really grown into a month-long celebration,” Sosa remarked. Among the different events, new this year is a “Noches de Jazz” series, held twice weekly at 8 p.m. at the Betsy Hotel South Beach (1440 Ocean Drive); it is free to attend. The series starts on Wednesday, September 24 with Barbara Alonso, and continues on Thursday, September 25 with Rick Jazzed with Bill Campbell; Wednesday, October 1 with Rolando Polo; and Thursday, October 2 with New World Symphony samplings. The annual salsa dance contests, a fan favorite, are returning this year, with the finale occurring on Saturday, September 27 during Noche Latina Saturdays at The Manor (2345 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors). “We’re really excited that our festival has continued to grow,” Sosa said happily.
Celebrate Orgullo events are free and open to the public, and part of the food and drink revenue will go toward Unity Coalition|Coalición Unida and their year-round operating costs, as well as their LGBT College Scholarship Fund. Unity Coalition|Coalición Unida is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advances equality for the South Florida Latino/Hispanic LGBT community. One of the largest in the state of Florida, the organization has been operating since 2001, offering year-round programs, workshops, community leadership, advocacy and the aforementioned scholarship fund for promising Hispanic LGBT students.
Hotspots Media Group, a parent group which includes sister publications Hotspots Magazine and Genre Latino Magazine, is proud to be a sponsor of Celebrate Orgullo. Other sponsors include the City of Miami Beach, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miami-Dade County Cultural Arts, The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Comcast, The Betsy Hotel South Beach, GMAB Productions, CP Productions, Lobo Lights and Sound, CityBash Group, Ambiente Magazine and Marks List.