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Polk Pride, formerly known as Lakeland Pridefest, is the gay pride celebration for Polk County, situated between Tampa and Orlando. There are a lot of fun events planned for the three-day Polk-Pride_copyfestivities, which start on Friday, June 19 and end on Sunday, June 21.

This year’s pride events start off with “An Evening with Leslie Jordan,” a stand-up comedy show featuring Leslie Jordan, who many of you know from Will & Grace and Sordid Lives. He will be at the Polk Theatre in Lakeland at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 19. (Read our interview with Leslie Jordan and find out how to buy tickets to this event in the Leslie Jordan feature located in this week’s issue.)

On Saturday, June 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be Pride in the Park, which will be at Lakeland’s Munn Park. This festival includes live entertainment, food trucks, vendors, service organizations, corporations, and many others Polk-Pride_copy2getting together and helping the Polk County community celebrate gay pride. This event is free to attend and is also family-friendly. At 6 p.m., there will be a special Pride Talk at Frescos Downstairs (132 S. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland) featuring Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida, who will speak about her job and also the state of LGBT rights in Florida today.

For an adult-friendly after party, go to Club Main Street (1295 E. Main St., Lakeland) where there will be drinks, dancing, and a fun drag show hosted by show director Kathryn Nevets. The evening event will last from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Polk Pride is brought to you by PFLAG of Polk County and the Lakeland Youth Alliance. The latter organization aims to provide safe spaces for LGBT youth in Central Florida. For more information, visit lakelandyouthalliance.com. For more information on Polk Pride, visit polkpridefl.com.

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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.