LGBT fes­ti­val to run 10 days

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Ron Hurt­ibise Staff writer

The Greater Fort Laud­erdale Con­ven­tion & Visi­tors Bureau an­nounced that the city will host the first 10-day Pride of the Amer­i­cas Fes­ti­val in April 2020.

Fort Laud­erdale’s an­nual Pride fes­ti­val has proven to be such a suc­cess­ful draw for LGBT tourism that lo­cal hospi­tal­ity plan­ners have de­cided to ex­pand it to an in­ter­na­tional-scale event.

The Greater Fort Laud­erdale Con­ven­tion & Visi­tors Bureau on Wed­nes­day an­nounced that the city will host the first-ever, 10-day Pride of the Amer­i­cas Fes­ti­val in April 2020. The event was ini­tially an­nounced last week­end at the In­ter­na­tional Gay & Les­bian Travel As­so­ci­a­tion an­nual con­fer­ence in Toronto.

The new fes­ti­val celebrating the gay, les­bian, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der com­mu­nity will be hosted by or­ga­niz­ers of the an­nual Pride Fort Laud­erdale fes­ti­val and will fea­ture a pa­rade, beach party, arts fes­ti­val, so­cial events through­out the area, and a hu­man rights con­fer­ence fo­cused on LGBT rights in the Caribbean and Latin Amer­ica.

The event will re­place the an­nual Pride Fort Laud­erdale fes­ti­val in 2020. Or­ga­niz­ers hope to pig­gy­back on the Tor­tuga Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and the Miami Beach Gay Pride event, both of which are in April, said Miik Mar­torell, pres­i­dent of the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that runs the Pride Fort Laud­erdale fes­ti­val.

The Fort Laud­erdale event is typ­i­cally in Feb­ru­ary but would be moved to April for the 2020 event, he said. “Ideally, Miami Beach Pride would kick off the event on their week­end and then our event would be the week af­ter. We would hope­fully be able to share [con­cert] stag­ing with the Tor­tuga Mu­sic Fes­ti­val.”

Mar­torell said he en­vi­sions con­cert of­fer­ings from A-list en­ter­tain­ers from the U.S., Caribbean and Latin Amer­ica.

The idea for the event grew out of a re­cent dis­ap­point­ment — Pride Fort Laud­erdale lost its bid to host the global WorldPride fes­ti­val in 2021, said Richard Gray, vice pres­i­dent of LGBT+ Mar­ket­ing for the con­ven­tion and vis­i­tor bureau.

But even though Copenhagen, Den­mark, was awarded the bid for WorldPride, the com­mit­tee that re­viewed the bids were im­pressed with what Fort Laud­erdale’s of­fered. Rather than scrap their plan, lo­cal or­ga­niz­ers de­cided they could com­ple­ment the nearly an­nual EuroPride fes­ti­val by fo­cus­ing on draw­ing visi­tors from the Western Hemi­sphere, Gray and Mar­torell said.

Mar­torell said he en­vi­sions the area host­ing the fes­ti­val ev­ery three or four years if it’s suc­cess­ful in 2020.

The fes­ti­val will in­clude a con­fer­ences ex­plor­ing op­pres­sion faced by LGBT mem­bers in the de­vel­op­ing Western world, es­pe­cially the Caribbean.

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