Saturday, August 29

Hotspots Exclusive Interview

The Flamingo Resort (4601 34th Street S., St. Petersburg) is Tampa Bay’s largest gay resort, and in the past six years, people from all over Florida and around the world have had the time of their lives while vacationing here. A one-stop shop, the Flamingo offers lodging immediately Flamingo_copy3adjacent to a full-service kitchen, six different bars, and a swimming pool open day and night.

The staff at the Flamingo welcomes everyone to help them celebrate their sixth anniversary on Saturday, August 29. The party, beginning at 10 p.m., will have a Studio 54 theme, so dress up in a costume and be noticed! There will be two costume contests going on, one for best disco costume and one for best prison costume (a nod to the original owners of Studio 54, who went to jail for tax evasion). The winner of the best prison costume will be announced at 1 a.m. and the winner of the best disco costume will be announced at 2 a.m. $500 in cash will be given to the winner of each costume contest.

DJ Johnny Cruz will be bringing his entire collection of ’70s and early ’80s vinyls with him from Orlando, and he’ll be spinning the grooviest, funkiest beats all night long. Request your favorite song and he might just play it! The Flamingo Resort drag cast, headed by Anjila Cavalier, will be presenting a Studio 54-themed drag show at 11:30 p.m. Expect lots of celebrity illusions of disco divas!

Flamingo_DavidBakerI spoke to Flamingo Resort’s resort director, David Baker, about the anniversary and some of the various changes that have been implemented in this exclusive Hotspots interview.

How excited is everyone at the Flamingo about the upcoming sixth anniversary?

Well, I know I’m very excited. [laughs] I think we’re in it for the twenty-year plan. Once a business gets past that five-year mark, that’s such a crucial point. So many businesses make it or break it before then so it’s momentous that we’ve made it six years. So many people from the community have supported us and we’ve been so lucky. You’ll find that next year, a lot of national and international organizations will be bringing in their events to the Flamingo so we’re very excited about that too.

What kinds of organizations are coming to the Flamingo?

First, we’ve secured the Drummer North America contest, and that’s a pretty large contest, so that’s exciting. We’ve gotten a lot of interest from groups on the West Coast that are starting chapters on the East Coast too. Not a whole lot of resorts can hold as many people as we can out here, so we’re ideal for them, considering they’re looking for larger venues that are welcoming.

Tell us a little bit about the anniversary party.Flamingo_copy2

We’re calling it the Studio 54 send-off party, which is a little play on how the original owners of Studio 54 went to jail the last night it was open. Then there will be shows with lots of celebrity impersonation. We’re still figuring out who will be participating, so I can’t reveal names yet, but the lineup will consist of people everyone loves.

Anjila Cavalier has been very well-received as the most recent show director, and of course Alexis de la Mer has been a performer since day one. What do they bring to the table that you like?

Anjila is such a unique talent. She wants people to be entertained and constantly entertained, and she’s so good at it. She can sing live, she can play the piano, she has a lot of illusions…she’s just so diverse. Then, you’re right, Alexis was in the first group of girls we hired. I had never seen her perform before then, and I was immediately impressed by her talent and presence. I adore Alexis. She’s done a lot for the Flamingo and we’re great friends.

Last year, I talked to you about Flamingo’s ongoing renovations. Can you give us an update?

Flamingo_copy1We’re almost finished with the inside courtyard rooms. We’ve put in epoxy floors, pillow-top king beds, and flat-screen TVs. We should be finished with all of the rooms in the courtyard area by the time the anniversary comes. We’ve gotten a good response from the renovations; it sounds like everyone likes the work we’ve done!

After the anniversary, what kinds of events do you have planned?

We’re having a pool party, a luau, and a drag show for Labor Day Weekend. We’re going to do a few extra things outside. We’ll have a steel drummer, we’re bringing back the waterslide on Saturday, and on Sunday Alexis de la Mer will be hosting her pool games. Then there’s Pet Pride coming up on September 26. We will have a little pool set up for pets, an owner-doggy lookalike contest, a doggy drag show, and rescue leagues will also be there, for people who are interested in adopting.

For more information about the Flamingo Resort, visit flamingofla.com. Book your trip to the Flamingo via their website or by calling their reservation hotline at (727) 321-5000.

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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.