Orlando Outfest mixes July 4 with America’s modern families

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – Converge Orlando and the Family Equality Council are heating up the Fourth of July weekend in Orlando with the first ever Family Outfest, a four-day, family-focused festival of events for the LGBT community and their allies July 2-5.

“We have observed that LGBTQ families are growing,” said Tatiana Quiroga, Family Equality Council’s southern regional manager. “More and more people are following their dreams of becoming parents and creating families and having this event we are showing our support.”

What can families expect from Outfest?

“Fun,” Quiroga said. “It’s a Pride event to celebrate all families—single parents, two moms, two dads, foster parents, adoptive parents, gay, straight, trans gendered, bi, multi-racial, everyone.”

The kick-off event is July 2 at Fun Spot. Fun Spot has also signed on to become a member of Converge Orlando.

“[Fun Spot’s sponsorship] is really significant,” said Mikael Audebert, Converge Orlando’s executive director. “They have always been seen in the community as quite conservative and we talked to the team over there and they are very excited to be welcoming LGBT families into Fun Spot.”

While Family Outfest is about families and being together, organizers also realize the need for parents to have some alone time while their kids get away from the grown-ups and be able to let loose. Nick After Dark is a kids-only event at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, one of Family Outfest’s sponsors, that will let the little ones play with some supervised fun. At the same time, the adults get their own event called Parents Night Out at Kings Bowl, where parents can mingle over a night of bowling.

The Family Outfest’s Fourth of July event will take place at Magic Kingdom, and organizers plan to keep up the red shirt tradition of Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom.

“Red is the color of equality and we want this sea of red to be families—both gay and straight,” Audebert said. “This is about a movement. Family Outfest is a movement for the LGBT and ally families.”

The main event is the July 5 Red, Out and Equal festival at Gaston Edwards Park at Lake Ivanhoe.

“During Red, Out and Equal we have great local entertainment lined up all day—everything from bouncy houses, slides and obstacle courses for the kids in the Zebra Coalition Kidz Zone to a Volleyball Tournament by Hammered Lamb,” said Brian Gouthro, Converge’s specials events director. “We have just about everything anyone could enjoy.”

Red, Out and Equal is a free event open to anyone and will be from noon to 9 p.m. This year will also be the first time Lake Ivanhoe puts on a night-time fireworks show.

“We wanted to do a nice outdoor event for the families,” said Audebert. “Fourth of July is typically outdoor BBQs and picnics, so we wanted to do something like that. There will be food trucks, cash bars and live music.”

Along with the live performances from Pop Fusion, Interactions and several others, Emmy award-winning actor and producer Dan Bucantinsky from ABC’s Scandal will be Family Outfest’s guest of honor and will be there with his husband and two kids.

There will be parking available at Lake Highland High School in the school parking lot. For those who can bike to the event, Ivanhoe Village has their bike valet service available as well.

“We are here to showcase the families that bring this community together,” said Gouthro. “And heck, I just love fireworks.”

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