Pridefest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches returns for its 21st annual celebrations, shining the spotlight on gay pride in Palm Beach County once again. This year’s pride will be a two-day affair, starting on Saturday, March 29 and continuing with the Parade on Sunday, March 30.
In the run-up to Pridefest, Mayor Pam Triolo and the Lake Worth City Commission read a proclamation they authored that promotes inclusion, and they helped the staff at Compass: The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of the Palm Beaches raise a rainbow flag over the Lake Worth City Hall. The city welcomes all people to attend the Pride celebrations this year at Bryant Park and it is estimated that over 15,000 people will enjoy the weekend’s festivities.
The theme of Pridefest this year is “Celebrating the FantaSea of Pride.” The theme was conceptualized as Compass celebrates five years in the renovated city-owned building in Lake Worth, adjacent to the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Pridefest celebrations will be kicked off unofficially on March 26 at 6 p.m. with a Compass Business Alliance Mixer at the Webber Gallery (705 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth), followed by a FantaSea-themed kickoff party at Roosters (823 Belvedere Rd., West Palm Beach), hosted by Entourage, Compass’s young men’s group. That party will start shortly after the Mixer ends at 8 p.m.
More than 80 different businesses and vendors are expected to showcase their goods and services in Bryant Park on both days of Pridefest, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wells Fargo and PNC Bank will be providing VIP tents and amenities for special ticket-holders. Advance tickets can be purchased at various participating locations across Palm Beach County, including but not limited to the Compass main building on Dixie Highway in Lake Worth. It is advisable to purchase tickets for VIP areas, music performances, and other events in advance to bypass long lines on the Pridefest weekend. Call (561) 533-9699 for more information.
In addition to the vendors and tents, Pridefest has a packed entertainment schedule on both days, emceed by entertainers Melissa St. John and Ricky Rollick. Headlining Pridefest, and performing on Saturday afternoon (March 29), is four-time Billboard Music Award-winner Crystal Waters, who is perhaps best known for her dance singles “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” and “100% Pure Love.” Following Crystal Waters on Saturday are singers Michaela Paige, Teri Catlin, and the best and the brightest from Compass’ Youth Group. On Sunday (March 30), the lead singer of the day is Karina Iglesias, the South Florida native best recognized from her participation last year on the NBC reality singing competition The Voice. Also performing on Sunday are Grammy Showcase finalists The Kinected and local rapper Jemiini. Other acts that can be seen on the weekend include Velvet Lenore, K-Otic Force, Rychy Neil, Dayja La Dama and Lacey on Stage.
The much-anticipated Grand Parade will be held on Sunday, March 30, starting at 11:30 a.m. The various organizations, vehicles, floats and walkers will start from the corner of South L Street and Lucerne Avenue and will take the route down Lake Avenue to Bryant Park. Key Pridefest sponsor Wells Fargo will be showcasing their 19th century-era horse-drawn carriages in the Parade.
Hotspots Media Group is a proud sponsor of Pridefest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches. Main event sponsors include Wells Fargo and PNC Bank. Other sponsors include Royal Palm Mazda, the Sun-Sentinel, South Florida Gay News, Don Todorich of Illustrated Properties, Mark’s List, Commcare Pharmacy, Roosters and Penny’s at the Duke, just to name a few.
The mission of Compass: The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of the Palm Beaches is that it aims to diminish stereotypes by challenging long-standing misconceptions about the character of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. For more information, visit compassglcc.com.