This year, 2024, makes it 3 years that we at HOTspots Happening Out have been celebrating The Cookout, A Black History Month event.
The Cookout has become a signature annual event of ours because of what it means to the community. To be able to provide a safe space for our LGBTQ+ family while celebrating Black History Month with the community at-large is near and dear to us. There aren’t many places where both communities can co-exist in an affirming and loving environment where everyone is welcome to live in their truth while enjoying a cultural celebration that dates back decades when it was officially recognized by the United States and over a century within the Black community.
To celebrate as one is an amazing feeling, but what also adds to the allure of the event is the FREE component that has existed since its conception. The intent is enjoyment for all so we take away the obstacles that might hinder anyone from joining in on the celebration. The Cookout is open to all and free to get in. But the freebies don’t stop there! The Black History Month event’s food is also free to all who come to enjoy the festivities. How do we make it possible? As a nonprofit, we must thank our sponsors like CAN Community Health, which is our event’s Presenting Sponsor, and Sysco, who has graciously provided the food for the second year in a row.
So, we have free parking, free entry, free food, great music by DJ Joey Brown and cash prize games! Yep, that’s right, cash prize games. Register in advance at www.hotspotsmagazine.com/thecookout under the menu tab “Event Highlights (The Cookout 2024 Highlights)” for either our spades tournament or dominoes tournament. The spades tournament is a 4-player game with teams of 2 and the dominoes tournament is an individual player game with games of 4 people that dwindling down to 2-players who battle it out for the win. Each tournament is a cash prize of $150. Make sure you enter in advance.
There’s more to The Cookout than just games and prizes. The Black History Month event also serves as a fundraiser, which has been part of The Cookout since we started the celebration in 2022. It’s our way of giving back to a deserving nonprofit organization that provides resources or services to the Black and Brown community of Florida. The money is raised through drink sales at The Cookout, the only aspect of the event that’s not free to the public. In fact, 100% of the proceeds go directly to our beneficiary. We couldn’t be anymore thankful to LIT bar of Wilton Manors and their sister club le Boy in Fort Lauderdale for providing the liquor all 3 years.
Our beneficiary for this year is the New Era Lodge No. 69. The Lodge serves as the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the Prince Hall Masonic Origin. It is the first of the 300-year-old Prince Hall Masonry to have an Openly Gay and Black Worshipful Master, Ederick Johnson, who’s also the youngest of leaders. The chapter’s mission is dedicated to the work of HIV Prevention, Orphans, and the Black Community. We’re so honored to have them as our beneficiary this year and can’t wait to hand them a check after The Cookout for the work that they do with the South Florida Black and Brown community.
The Lodge isn’t the only one being honored at The Cookout. Since the first year of the celebration the City of Wilton Manors has been a loving sponsor of the event providing us a Proclamation in 2022. For 2023, we kicked it up a notch and coordinated with the city’s Community Affairs Advisory Board (CAAB) along with the City Commission to honor the city’s Black History Month Proclamation Recipients with a reading of their proclamation at The Cookout. And we’re happy to say that we are coordinating with the city yet again to honor the city’s Black History Month Proclamation Recipients of 2024 with a reading of their proclamation at The Cookout.
The Cookout is 5 hours of fun, food, music, games, and laughter for all to enjoy. This year we’re excited to announce a happy union with our sponsors at IKEA who will for the first time in The Cookout’s history provide a kids zone complete with park toys for the little ones. We encourage everyone to bring their family and friends, and enjoy all that The Cookout has to offer.