By Nick Ciletti
The last time Miami-Dade County had any type of gay pride event, the Spice Girls topped the charts, people considered Adidas windpants sexy (ugh…I know) and all people could think of was a little stain on a blue dress. If this seems like eons and eons ago, you’re not alone!
After an 11-year hiatus, Gay Pride is back in South Florida, this time kicking and screaming through the beach with Miami Beach’s Inaugural Gay Pride Parade. Grand Marshalls Patti LaBelle and Richie Rich will lead the parade, which kicks off at Noon on Saturday, April 18. Nestle yourself anywhere from 4th to 15th Streets alongside Ocean Drive and you are bound not to miss the 40 floats, Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower, and of course, thousands and thousands of rainbow-clad men and women from all walks of life uniting to show their support for the Gay Community. And the best part it is, you don’t have to worry about emptying your pockets because the parade is 100 percent free, baby!
And if you’ve done the whole parade thing before or are slightly claustrophobic, have no fear - there are plenty of other free events and exhibits to keep you out of trouble. From noon to 6 p.m. there is the PROUD Festival and Expo featuring over 80 local businesses and vendors, food, refreshments (remember, it’s gonna get pretty hot in there), and music. From 1 - 7 p.m., 14th Street’s Main Stage is hosting performers like India and Fanni Lu who are singing some of their top hits, so don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes.
Some come one, come all, gay or straight, crazy or sane. Pride organizers promise an unforgettable event. Just don’t get trampled by the Miami Gay Men’s Chorus.