Wouldn’t you want to come to paradise and celebrate Pride with beautiful men from all over the world? Well, how about from half the world? Get ready for Pride of the Americas 2020.
When I moved to Fort Lauderdale, my friends said I moved to paradise. The beaches, the men, the weather, the inexpensive alcohol, and people coming from all over the world to visit throughout the year. I agree, it is paradise, but what is great is that this paradise I call home gets better and better every single year.
From its position in southern Florida, Fort Lauderdale celebrates life and gayness like no other city. The year I graduated from college was the year this city took a leap to become a hub of LGBT travel and tourism.
In 1995, Richard Gray proposed to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) a business plan for marketing Fort Lauderdale as a gay destination. It was accepted and in 1996 with a $35,000 gay marketing initiative, Gray went to work promoting the city and what it had to offer tourists. Within a half a decade the number of gay resorts in the area grew to 30. His work and the work of others in the CVB has been so successful and the returns so great that his position of LGBT Managing Director for the Fort Lauderdale CVB was made fulltime 7 years ago and now has an annual budget of $1 million. The budget is impressive, but what also needs to be mentioned is that Richard Gray is one of a kind as it is believed (as of 2014 when we first chatted at length) that there are no other Convention and Visitors Bureaus in North America or Internationally that Gray knows of with an employee whose sole responsibility is the LGBT market.
I’ve been fortunate to see some of the great progress The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB has made to make the city and the area more and more inclusive and welcoming.
The support the CVB gives to the LGBT community has made it much easier for Fort Lauderdale Pride to move forward with bettering what they have to offer the citizens of southern Florida.
My first interactions with Pride in the FTL area had been the Stonewall Prides held in June every year in Wilton Manors. It’s a great celebration that mirrors other pride celebrations across the country. But it wasn’t until last year in February of 2017 that I attended Fort Lauderdale’s Pride celebration during its first year on the Fort Lauderdale beach. It was one of the happiest, sexiest, down to earth, inviting events I had been to in the United States. This year in 2018, the event was repeated but was even more glorious and was even called the Love Pride.
One thing I loved about Richard Gray’s and the Greater Fort Lauderdale’s CVB’s vision is that they all love where we live and want to share it with as many people as they can. Pride Fort Lauderdale did desire to host the WorldPride in 2021, but it was awarded to Copenhagen.
What to do when you don’t get the bid? Lemons, lemonade, lemon drop martinis, let’s party! Pride of the Americas sounds like a great consolation prize and one that is not only still in my front yard, but a year earlier!
And Fort Lauderdale is the ideal spot to launch one. Our area is not just a premiere tourist destination, it also boasts a particularly diverse and welcoming community, with one of the largest concentrations of LGBT households in the nation. Broward County is the most diverse county in Florida and the second most diverse in the nation (we’re coming for you, Queens, New York!). More than 58 percent of our population is minorities, 32 percent were born in another country, and approximately 79 percent of those foreign-born residents are from Latin America. – hotspotsmagazine
The news is fresh and exciting about this event. When the dust settles, it may be clear which organization is sponsoring, in charge of, or fully organizing the event, but what is seen now is that the Fort Lauderdale community will be hosting this event. The partnership with Broward County, Fort Lauderdale CVB, and the Fort Lauderdale Pride organization will make this event grand!
The writers over at HotSpots Magazine have shared these possible tid bits with us all as what may occur during this celebration:
- Possible 350,000 LGBT celebrants from around the world.
- A Sunday parade and beach festival, capped off with a spectacular fireworks show.
- A full week of Pride festivities with opening ceremonies, an arts festival, a business expo
- A human rights conference focused on LGBT rights in the Caribbean and Latin America
- Daily sunset concerts, a beach party, and dance parties and other social activities at venues all over town.
Pride of the Americas is a little over a year and a half away (omg that’s not too far away), so they have a little time to iron things out. Fort Lauderdale Pride is usually in February, but the 2020 celebration may explode in February or April of that year. Latest announcement is for April. Will it take some of the umph out of Miami Pride which is usually the first weekend of April or will it be later in the month? They’re working on it and we will let you know more when we know more.
h/t: HotSpots Magazine
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