Oakland Park Mayor Mitch Rosenwald and Vice Mayor Tim Lonergan will host South Florida Amateur Athletic Association founding members, past players and executives, as well as current board members, players, coaches, and fans for a special 30th anniversary Founders’ Dedication Ceremony at Wimberly Athletic Fields on July 20.

Wimberly is where the first pitch, hit, and run in league play were recorded in the inaugural game. “It is truly an honor to get to celebrate 30 years of LGBT softball, not only with many of our founders but also where it all began here in Oakland Park,” says SFAAA Commissioner Rocky Bowell, who is serving his second term. “SFAAA is not only softball; lasting friendships are made,” Bowell concludes. “And we get to play the game we love.”

A proclamation will be issued to honor SFAAA’s legacy and ongoing contributions to South Florida. In addition, the Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library will also be making a special presentation to recognize one of the oldest recorded LGBT civil rights events in Oakland Park history. “I am grateful to the leaders who have taken the league to new heights since then and to the current SFAAA board for their commitment in preserving its history,” says SFAAA co-founder Jim Stork. “Past and present, whether we have met or not, we are all part of a softball family.”

An exhibition game will follow the noon ceremony, and the public is welcome to attend.
The league was founded by Stork, George Kessinger, and the late Bob Hagen in July 1994. The league grew from a handful of teams and players to more than 30 teams and almost 500 players and supporters in 2024.  “Special shoutouts to Stan Butler, our first manager, the one and only George Kessinger, and the late Bob Hagen, our first commissioner,” Stork adds. “All of them helped inspire to build our new league back in 1994.”

Other dignitaries scheduled to attend are former North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance Commissioner Jim Marks, who helped guide SFAAA into the national organization, as well as Oakland Park author and historian Susan Gillis, who is writing a book on the history of the city.
SFAAA has been a staple of South Florida and the national gay scene for three decades. Since 1995, the region has hosted the annual Hurricane Showdown softball tournament held over Thanksgiving weekend. SFAAA also hosted the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series in 2006. The league will send 14 teams to this year’s Gay Softball World Series, which will be held in Las Vegas in October.

On Sunday July 21, SFAAA will hold its 30th Anniversary Gala, where new members to the SFAAA Hall of Fame will be inducted and league awards distributed.

The league will start up again in late August with ratings sessions followed by the fall season after Labor Day. The 30th Hurricane Showdown will be held again during Thanksgiving weekend.

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