Polk Pride rises up for fifth annual celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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LAKELAND, Fla. | Polk Pride will hold its fifth annual celebration June 8-15, rising up to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

“Polk Pride’s fifth year promises to be bigger and better than ever,” Polk Pride President Scott Guira says. “Events are planned to reach every member of the community, inclusive of all backgrounds, and will surely be a great time no matter if this is someone’s first Pride or fiftieth Pride.”

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Polk Pride celebrates diversity in its fourth year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Lakeland | Local advocates and allies will hold the fourth annual Polk Pride June 13-16 to celebrate LGBTQ diversity and inclusion in Polk County.

“If you’ve never been to Polk Pride, you’ve never experienced the best of what Pride can be,” Polk Pride’s president Scott Guira says. “Polk Pride is an opportunity for absolutely anybody in any age group and any background to come out to a Pride event and really feel like it is welcoming and it is the right place for them to be.”

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Polk County shows its Pride in the Park

By : Jeremy Williams
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Rainbow flags and colorful outfits were out in droves for Polk Pride’s “Pride in the Park” celebration at Munn Park in Lakeland June 17.

Attendees had dozens of vendor tents and food trucks to visit while watching local singers, dancers and drag performers entertain.

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Comedian Fortune Feimster brings her Southern charm to Polk Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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Fortune Feimster has been a comical force of nature since first appearing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2010. The North Carolina native has been a member of the legendary comedy troupe The Groundlings; a writer and performer on Chelsea Handler’s groundbreaking late night talk show, Chelsea Lately; and has guest-starred on hit TV shows like 2 Broke Girls, Glee and Life in Pieces.

In Mindy Kaling’s hit Hulu series The Mindy Project, Feimster guest starred as the loveable nurse Colette, and was so loveable that Kaling turned Colette into a permanent character on the show.

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Issue 24.11: We’re Still Here

By : Jake Stevens
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Orlando reaches the one-year mark of the Pulse tragedy, Equality Florida brings TransPride march to St. Pete Pride, Polk Pride celebrates year three, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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Polk Pride looks to make its third year the biggest one yet

By : Jeremy Williams
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LAKELAND – Nestled on the I-4 corridor between Orlando and Tampa, many visitors don’t realize that Lakeland has quite an LGBTQ presence in Polk County.

“That was never more evident than that first year we held Polk Pride in 2015,” Dustin Shay, a Polk Pride executive committee member, says. “We were thinking we would have like 200 people and it ended up being 3,000. It was great. The following year Pride in 2016 we ended up having around 5,000, so this year we are really hoping to blow it out since we have gotten a little bit more exposure.”

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Polk County investigates bus driver over anti-LGBT comments after mother faces school board

By : Jeremy Williams
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HAINES CITY – The Polk County School Board is investigating a bus driver who is accused of making inappropriate comments and distributing religious material to an elementary school student who has same-sex parents.

Nathaly Encarnacion says that her son, a second-grader at Alta Vista Elementary, was told that his mothers would go to hell because they are gay by his school bus driver Violeta Jacobo on Feb. 8.

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Eyes on us: Eric Skains and St. Pete Pride bid to bring World Pride to Tampa Bay in 2022

By : Jeremy Williams
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Florida’s largest Pride celebration is back and turning the volume up for the world to hear as it takes over the streets of the Grand Central District June 24-26.

While St. Pete Pride will be pulling off another celebration on the gulf coast, they will also have their eyes on 2022. The year will mark the 20th anniversary of St. Pete Pride and is the year they are bidding on World Pride.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Baxter’s Lounge opens its doors

By : Anonymous
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Finally re-opened
Everything was set for the grand re-opening of the newly renovated Baxter’s Lounge the last weekend of February—except that construction wasn’t quite finished. These things happen, and fortunately dates for celebrations can be changed. So the new date to celebrate the re-grand opening of Baxter’s Lounge was shifted to March 5, and it was a success. The newly renovated and historic club is now owned by Kurt King, who also owns the area’s two Hamburger Mary’s restaurants. The club on Dale Mabry has been part of Tampa’s LGBT community for more than three decades, and on the grand opening night, 100% of the proceeds benefited the upcoming Tampa Pride.

Big time wedding
On Feb. 18, Ybor City was turned into a wedding reception when Chou Chou Guilder and Tiffany Erica tied the knot in properties owned by Radiant Oil Company. Each woman had 12 attendees and each bride wore a matching Vera Wang wedding dress. After the vows, the party moved into The Honey Pot for a massive reception. The location made sense, since Guilder has tended bar at the popular club for nearly eight years. The couple say more than 600 people were invited to the celebration and at least 400 made it to the actual party. 

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