Pride season in South Florida is finally drawing to a close, and a little bird told me (I think her name was Vanessa Williams) that they saved (one of) the best for last.
Wilton Manors Stonewall Parade and Pride Festival will rock the Island City on Saturday, June 16, as more than 45,000 of us arrive to get our rainbow on. It all kicks off when the Marketplace opens at 4pm, with more than 100 booths spread along the length of Wilton Drive, including vendors of every stripe, artists, activists, service agencies, and, of course, plenty of food and drank.
Meanwhile, parade contingents will have been queuing up just south of the river (and the Dairy Queen!) at Fort Lauderdale High School, preparing to step off at 5pm. The parade lasts about 90 minutes, then The Drive slips into full-on street-party mode.
Who am I kidding? The Drive is in full-on street-party mode all day and evening, with folks enjoying the Marketplace — and each other’s company. The focus of much of the partying will be the four major stages set up along the parade route, where the best, the brightest, the queerest, and the most outrageous among us will be strutting their stuff from mid-afternoon.
Read on for the skinny on all the hot stage action.
4–11pm, Wilton Dr at 6th Ave
The iHeart Stage is ground zero for your Stonewall Pride celebrations, and it all kicks off with the official opening ceremonies at 4:15pm, featuring appearances by local leaders including Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick, Vice Mayor (and mayoral candidate!) Justin Flippen, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
After the parade wraps up around 6:30, the stage kicks into high gear with DJs including iHeartRadio’s Mobile Mike as well as special guest DJs from 93.9 MIA, not to mention dozens of local performers. Keeping them all in line will be your lovely and talented hosts: Misty Eyez, Nicole Halliwell, and Hotspots LIVE’s very own Kitty Meow.
The Manor Stage
3–11pm, 2345 Wilton Dr
The Manor parking lot will be its own little street party. They’re bringing in food trucks! Meanwhile, out on The Drive, the megaclub showcases two of its most popular resident DJs on its outdoor stage: DJ Sushiman gets things going at 3pm, and DJ JPS takes over from 6pm to 11. Between beats, expect plenty of performers.
To help you transition from the street into the club (no cover tonight!), DJ Kidd Madonny will be stepping up to the decks on The Manor’s indoor stage at 10pm, where the Miami fave will keep the crowd jumping until 4am.
From 6pm, 2232 Wilton Dr
You can expect a DJ and emcee, but the big draw at Hunters will be the big name: Crystal Waters. The dance-music queen got her break in 1991 with “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless),” a worldwide phenomenon. Since then, she’s been singing a whole lot more than just “la da dee, la dee da.” Girlfriend’s had twelve No. 1 Billboard Dance Club Hits over the past quarter century, including last year’s smash “Testify” (with HiFi Sean) and her current chart-topper, “I Am House.”
Also appearing: The Big Dipper, who Vice described a few years ago as “a hairy, filthy-mouthed queer rapper out of Chicago who has a theater background, and way better style than you,” will be jetting in from his new base in L.A.
He’ll be joined by NYC-bred rapper (and dancer) Reijo Rych, who will not need to fly in because he’s now local talent. This won’t be Rych’s first time on The Drive. He’s played Stonewall before. He even won Rumors Talent Search back in the day.
6–11pm, 2426 Wilton Dr
Speaking of Rumors, the Upper Drive staple is promising its largest Stonewall stage ever. And they’re gonna need it to hold all the talent because this year the popular bar and grill is springing for a 7-piece live band. Fronted by both male and female vocalists, the band will be serving up your pop favorites for the ages: Britney to Bruno Mars, Bon Jovi to Lady Gaga.
Sounds like if you need a break from drag performances during Stonewall — say it isn’t so! — Rumors will be your official lip-sync-free zone.