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Stonewall Pride in Wilton Manors, presented by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, returns for its 14th year in 2014, and the event’s organizers say that tens of thousands of people will converge on Wilton Drive for a day of entertainment and fun.stone_sheila

The event preparations start as the Drive closes to vehicular traffic at 5 a.m. on Saturday, June 21, and it will remain closed for 22 hours. The Street Festival will open to the public at noon and will run until 11 p.m. A Twilight Pride Parade will begin at 7 p.m. and will build up to a live performance by headlining singer Sheila E.

Stonewall Pride has been a part of the Broward County gay social calendar for many years. The idea for Stonewall Pride was born shortly after Pride Fort Lauderdale was spun off as a springtime event back in 1999. Many people in the community felt the need to commemorate stone_6the events of the Stonewall riots of June 1969, and what we now know as Stonewall Pride was born. This unique arrangement means that Fort Lauderdale is one of the few communities in the nation to host two gay pride celebrations each year for its citizens.

One change to the event schedule this year means the Festival and Parade will be on the same day once more. Dozens of vendors will be set up along the Drive for your perusal as the Festival begins at noon. This is of course in addition to the many storefronts, some of which will be open early just for this special occasion. Both the stores and the vendors are expected to offer great prices and deep discounts in honor of Pride day. Hungry or thirsty? Food trucks and frozen drink tents will be open for business all along the street.

This year’s Twilight Parade, which starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, will start at the south end of Wilton Drive at Fort Lauderdale High School, and will continue up Wilton Drive up to Five stone_4Points at Dixie Highway. People can view the Parade anywhere along Wilton Drive, and if you need to sit down, there will be bleachers set up at various points along the Parade route. There will be prizes and awards given to the “Over the Top Grand Prize Float,” which is the one that’s judged to have the best decorations, music and enthusiasm; as well as to the “Best Walking Group,” which will be expected to showcase the best overall concept and visual appeal.

whsf_sat_stonewallAfter the Parade, the headliner will begin her performance at 8:15 p.m. There will be three stages of entertainment this year, and like in previous years, the main stage will be set up at the intersection of Wilton Drive and NE 6th Avenue. The headlining entertainer this year is singer and drummer Sheila E., known for her platinum-selling hit “The Glamorous Life.” Also after the Parade, there will be an attempt at a Guinness World Record, where 150 drag queens will form the longest drag queen dance line ever.

Other acts can be seen on the two stages set up on Wilton Drive throughout the Festival earlier in the day, and these acts include The Jai Rose Band, Philip Alexander, Jayquan, Rych Niel, Jubilee Greyson, DJ Pride, DJ AJ Reddy, DJ Ryan Maragh and DJ Joey Madonia.

This year, Stonewall Pride organizers anticipate a crowd of 30,000 people who will be in stone_5attendance for the Festival and for the Twilight Parade. Like last year, there will be a special area set up with activities and games for children, so feel free to bring them along and rest easy knowing they will be in good hands.

Hotspots Media Group is proud to be a media sponsor of Stonewall Pride for another year. National sponsors of Stonewall Pride include The Home Depot, Iberia Bank, Avis, Budget Rent-a-Car, Orbitz, Southern Comfort, Stolichnaya Vodka, Red Bull, Jack Daniel’s, and Wells Fargo. Stonewall Pride is produced with the cooperation of the City of Wilton Manors.

For more information about Stonewall Pride, visit StonewallPrideWiltonManors.com. Like the event organizers on facebook at facebook.com/StonewallPride and view photos of past events on Instagram at instagram.com/StonewallPride.

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.