Did you love Fort Lauderdale Pride on the beach this year? (I know I did.) Well, I’ve got some bad news for you: It looks like there won’t be a Pride Fort Lauderdale in 2020.
Horrified? Don’t be.
The reason there may not be a Pride Fort Lauderdale in two years is because the city will be welcoming LGBT folk from the entire Western Hemisphere — and beyond — to the world’s first (drumroll, please!)… Pride of the Americas. That’s right. Pride 2020 isn’t being canceled; it’s getting pre-empted, supersized, and Latinized. To which I can only say: ¡Dámelo!
Pride of the Americas is born out of the tremendous success of Pride Fort Lauderdale’s move to the beach last year. The organization’s leaders clearly know how to plan, execute, and expand a major event.
The other factor driving the Pan-American event is more bittersweet.
Over the past couple years, Pride Fort Lauderdale had been preparing a bid to bring WorldPride to our city in 2021. Organizers made their final pitch to the WorldPride Committee of InterPride, the international organization that helps facilitate Pride celebrations around the globe, last October in Indianapolis. Pride Fort Lauderdale’s presentation was widely deemed a rousing success, but the committee voted to award WorldPride 2021 to Copenhagen.
Some queer wags have noted that Pride Fort Lauderdale’s bid may have been doomed from the start due to factors not entirely within the group’s control. The WorldPride immediately preceding the 2021 event is slated for New York City in 2019, to coincide with Stonewall50 festivities, and in the interest of fairness, InterPride likes to spread the love among countries, making the selection of a U.S. city for 2021 highly unlikely. (It certainly didn’t help Pride Fort Lauderdale’s bid that the Miami organizers of World OutGames 2017 had just flamed out spectacularly the preceding May, canceling the event just hours before the opening ceremonies were to begin — with many participating athletes already in Miami or en route.)
Whatever the reason for Pride Fort Lauderdale’s loss in Indianapolis, after October, deeply disappointed organizers seemed to face two options: Join Sydney and Montreal in the competition to host WorldPride 2013 or shelve their WorldPride ambitions entirely.
Pride Fort Lauderdale settled on a third way: repurposing all the work they’d done for their WorldPride bid to instead launch a brand-new, international event, Pride of the Americas.
The move makes sense. While EuroPride has been held almost yearly since the 1992 celebration in London, there is no Pan-American Pride event.
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.
Couple that hospitality and those demographics with a supremely motivated and well-organized host organization, and, frankly, it’s hard to imagine launching Pride of the Americas anywhere else.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) is fully behind the event. In fact, they’re partnering with Pride Fort Lauderdale. Broward County has pledged several million dollars in support. And Richard Gray, GFLCVB’s Vice President for LGBT+, will be unveiling Pride of the Americas at a press conference during the annual convention of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) this weekend in Toronto. But in the meantime, Hotspots has the skinny for you.
So, what can you look forward to in 2020?
Celebrating Pride with 350,000 other LGBT folk and friends from around the world.
The main event on a Sunday will feature a parade and beach festival, capped off with a spectacular fireworks show. But organizers are envisioning a full week of Pride festivities, including opening ceremonies, an arts festival, a business expo, and a human rights conference focused on LGBT rights in the Caribbean and Latin America, plus daily sunset concerts, a beach party, and dance parties and other social activities at venues all over town.
Now, Pride Fort Lauderdale has no intention of trying to pull off such an ambitious slate of events all on its own. Along with the GFLCVB, it hopes to partner with many of our local LGBT (and LGBT-friendly) organizations and businesses.
And in order to get 350,000 people to our city, Pride Fort Lauderdale will be doing outreach to Pride organizers and other LGBT groups throughout the Americas. Miik Martorell, President of Pride Fort Lauderdale, already has a head start on that process. In just the past two years, he’s volunteered at 39 Prides around the world. In fact, he’s headed to San Juan for PRIDE Puerto Rico next month.
So, mark Pride of the Americas in your 2020 calendar, ladies. The dates aren’t firm yet (organizers are deciding between February, the regular date for Pride Fort Lauderdale, and April, when reserving blocks of hotel rooms will be easier), but put it down for sometime in the first four months of 2020.
In the meantime, you can get psyched for Pride Fort Lauderdale 2019, which returns to the beach next February. The theme will be Carnaval, the perfect amuse-bouche for Pride of the Americas.
I’m seeing feathers. Lots of feathers.