Watermark 25: Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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With this issue Watermark celebrates 25 years of publishing, 25 years of sharing information and helping to build a community. I am beyond proud to be a part of this organization.

As I sat down to write this column, I visited the words of Founder and Guiding Light Tom Dyer as he shared his thoughts on the 20th Anniversary of Watermark. It’s funny to see how much has changed, and how little has changed. We still operate with a small, dedicated staff who are as passionate about their work as they are talented. Watermark still focuses on local community news in its pages, offering a voice to stories other publications will not; and at times we still walk the fine line between financial gain and commitment to community partnerships.

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PHOTOS: Polk Pride in the Park

By : Maia Monet
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Munn Park in downtown Lakeland was the site of Polk Pride in the Park this past Saturday. A large crowd came out to be visible as members of the LGBTQ+ community and to show their support. Drag performer Kathryn Nevets hosted the entertainment, which included a rousing rendition of “This is Me” and closed with lesbian band Halcyon.

More photos after the jump.

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PHOTOS: Kissimmee PrideFest 2018

By : mAIA
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The second annual PrideFest Kissimmee was held this past June 9 at the Kissimmee Civic Center to a large crowd enjoying the open display of LGBTQ pride. Miss Sammy and Lisa Lane hosted the entertainment as PrideFest audience members were encouraged to strut their stuff on stage to the delight of all, along with music by Orlando Gay Chorus and others. Vendors included Human Rights Campaign and the LGBT+ Center Orlando.

More photos after the jump.

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PHOTOS: onePULSE Foundation’s 2nd annual CommUNITY Rainbow Run honors the 49

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Thousands gathered to participate in onePULSE Foundation’s second annual CommUNITY Rainbow Run at Wadeview Park in Orlando June 9.

The run — a 4.9 mile path through Orlando that passes in front of Pulse — is held to “honor the 49 lives taken in the Pulse tragedy, and celebrate our diverse backgrounds that brought us all together during the healing process following that tragic day.”

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PHOTOS: One Magical Weekend’s RIPTIDE brought a wave of partygoers to Typhoon Lagoon

By : Danny Garcia
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One Magical Weekend’s signature event, and the weekend’s longest-running party, RIPTIDE brought thousands of partygoers to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon June 1.

Disney’s 52-acre waterpark was overflowing with scantily clad party animals for a night of dancing, swimming and drinking.

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Parliament House kicks off Gay Days with traditional PI@PH

By : Danny Garcia
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The world famous Parliament House got its Gay Days started with its PI @ PH celebration.

P House’s annual tradition featured amazing drag performances, the hottest music and a fantastic show from Hamburger Mary’s Broadway Brunch Bunch.

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MegaCon brings out Central Florida’s cosplayers

By : Danny Garcia
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The fear of Tropical Depression Alberto pouring down rain wasn’t enough to keep the geeks, gamers and cosplayers away from MEGACON last weekend.

MEGACON Orlando is the southeast’s largest comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming event, and attracted over 100,000 fans to the Orange County Convention Center over four days.

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5.17.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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It’s easy to forget. I forget things all the time. In fact, I forget things so easily that I am pretty sure our sales director Danny Garcia uses it against me. He’ll say I approved something in a conversation we never had knowing that I will assume we had the conversation and I don’t remember it. It works for us.

I also get so caught up in day to day “adulting” that I forget what it’s like to be alone in a new city, to start a new relationship, to be a kid or to plan for college. All of which I have been reminded of this past month, and I love it.

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PHOTOS: Orlando Fringe Preview Show

By : Danny Garcia
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Orlando Fringe’s annual preview shows give Fringe-natics an opportunity to view a two minute presentation to see what’s in store for this year’s festival. Broken into two categories, General Audience & Mature Audience – both shows are always well attended. The General Audience was hosted by Eric Pinder & Mature Audience by Rob Ward as Pepe.

This year’s preview was filled with dancers, contortionists, a Russian dog shot into space, a fabulously flamboyant Frog/Pig hybrid, ghosts and ghost-bustin’ Shakespearean performers. The performers ranged from the very young in the Xanadu Jr. production, to the young at heart with the Downtowners, a group of musically inclined senior citizens.

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PHOTOS: Spooky Empire

By : Maia Monet
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This past weekend the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive played host to the annual spring edition of the Spooky Empire horror convention. Fans dressed-to-impress in their scariest attire to peruse the pop-culture vendors and artists selling their wares. They also lined up to get inked in the tattoo hall and meet their horror heroes Linda Blair, Tim Matheson, Peter Riegert and Matthew Lillard.

The much anticipated costume contest took place on Sunday with entrants dressing up as Bride of Chucky, Mrs. Pennywise, Ash from the “Evil Dead” franchise and Norma and Norman Bates. The coveted “Best in Show” prize was won by a trio of villains from the “Scooby Doo” animated series made flesh by the talented team of Jon Lee and Eric Leas from Bad Moon FX.

Check out the photos from the weekend and costume contest after the jump.

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PHOTOS: Manatee Pride celebrates its fifth year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Bradenton | The Manatee Pride Festival held its fifth annual LGBTQ pride event on March 17 at the Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion.

New and returning vendors surrounded the event’s main stage, allowing attendees the perfect view of the event’s performers. Entertainment included area favorites like Divine AF, an ensemble from The Players Centre for Performing Arts, Beneva Fruitville and Johnny Sparks.

Darwin’s Brewery and Tap Room once again provided the signature Manatee Pride beer, event sponsor CAN Community Health offered free health screenings and Watermark was on hand to help celebrate. You can check out some of our photos below.

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PHOTOS: Project No Labels kicks off Tampa Pride at City Side Lounge

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa | Project No Labels helped kick off Tampa Pride on March 23 at a transformed City Side Lounge for the group’s first Pride Legacy Awards.

The awards highlight local leaders, individuals and businesses who dedicate themselves to the LGBTQ community through time and/or resources. The night was hosted by area favorite Mayven Missbehavin’ and featured food from local restaurants, free shots from Tito’s Vodka and a wide array of entertainment.

Aerial artists, fire performers, vocalists and some of Tampa Bay’s best drag performers dazzled the crowd—and Watermark was on hand to help celebrate. You can check out some of our photos below.

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