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Key West Pride is an annual tradition in America’s southernmost point that dates all the way back to 1978. Long celebrated as a destination that marches to the beat of its own drum, Key West welcomed people who may have not always been welcome in other segments of society. KeyWest-Pride_copy1The LGBT community has thrived here for generations, and today the community in the Keys is outer and prouder than ever. The 38th annual Key West Pride week will run from June 10-14, with lots of fun events going on for you to enjoy.

The week’s events start off with three pride pageants. The first is a pageant for the lesbians, Ms. Pride Key West, and you can see that on Wednesday, June 10 at 8 p.m. at 801 Cabaret. The next night, also at 8 p.m. at 801 Cabaret, there will be the Miss Pride Key West pageant for drag queens. Finally, the Mr. Pride Key West pageant, featuring more hot guys than you can shake a stick at, will search for a winner on Friday, June 12 at 8 p.m. at Bourbon Street Pub’s Garden Bar Stage. Over $1000 in cash and prizes will go to the winner. The first two pageants are free to attend, while the third charges $15 per person. Another fun party on Friday will be the “Men’s Meat-Up,” which will be held at Saloon One on Friday, June 12 at 11 p.m. There is no cover charge for this event.

You definitely can’t miss celebrity impersonator Michael Walters perform as Dame Edna KeyWest-Pride_copy3Everage in a fun musical parody of the “Diva from Down Under” called “Purple Reign.” Barry Humphries, the original Dame Edna, has called Walters’ performance “spectacular.” He will be performing two shows, one on Friday, June 12 and one on Saturday, June 13, both with a start time of 8 p.m., at the Waterfront Playhouse at Mallory Square (310 Wall St.). Tickets are $40 per person and can be bought in advance by going to waterfrontplayhouse.org.

On Saturday, June 13, there will be a lot of fun events parties all over the city. Start off the day with a fun gay trolley trip around Key West. The trolley leaves Angela and Duval Streets at 4 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance by going to the Gay Key West Visitor Center (513 Truman Ave.) or on the trolley that day. Fury Water Adventures will be bringing a lot of revelers for a fun Pride Tea Dance on the Sea. To buy your tickets ($69.95 per person), dial 305-842-1988. Check-in is at 6 p.m. at the corner of Greene and Elizabeth Streets.KeyWest-Pride_copy4

Bourbon St. Pub will play host to Stoli’s Original Key West Cocktail Classic grand finals, which starts at 7 p.m. Jai Rodriguez from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and Stoli ambassador Patrik Gallineaux, will be your hosts for the evening. The panel that will be judging Key West’s best drinks includes comedian Bruce Vilanch, singer and American Idol finalist Latoya London, and Andrew Christian. Afterwards, Bourbon St. Pub hosts their annual fetish party, Purgatory, starting at 10 p.m. Fetish attire is encouraged, and there is a free clothes check at the door. There will also be a foam party in the garden bar. Aqua Nightclub will host their “Grind Saturdays” party, starting at midnight. Show your Grindr app on your phone to the person at the door to enter for free.

Then there are the two main events: the street fair on Saturday, June 13 and the pride parade on Sunday, June 14. The 700 and 800 blocks of Duval Street will be closed off to traffic while KeyWest-Pride_copy2numerous vendors and organizations set up their tents in anticipation for the street fair, which runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. Then on Sunday, there is the one-of-a-kind parade, which runs the path of Duval Street from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Featured again this year will be Key West’s signature gay pride flag, which clocks in at 1.25 miles long! The parade starts on the Gulf side at 5 p.m.

Many people will be coming down to the Keys and staying for the entire week. The Key West Business Guild recommends a number of different places as far as accommodations are concerned. First off, there’s the very famous clothing-optional Island House Resort for Men (1129 Fleming St., 800-890-6284). Another popular clothing-optional guest house is the Equator Resort (818 Fleming St., 305-296-5765). Other guest house options include the New Orleans House (724 Duval St., 305-293-9800) and Alexander’s Guest House (1118 Fleming St., 800-654-KeyWest-Pride_copy59919). For a five-star luxury experience, the Guild recommends the Marriott Key West Beachside (3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 305-296-8100).

Key West Pride is part of the Key West Business Guild’s network of events. To read more about Key West Pride, visit keywestpride.org. To read more about the Key West Business Guild, visit kwbgonline.org.

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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.