Overheard in Tampa Bay: Walk for a cause, cool down poolside

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Sawmill has new royalty
Eight contestants competed for the coveted title of Miss Sawmill 2015 on Aug. 23, but only one could walk away with the crown. Orlando performer Imani Valentino wowed the panel of nine judges and secured the title. First runner-up was Emoni Sanchez and second runner-up was Stephanie Stuart. The night was a fun one with emcees and former Miss Sawmill title holders Sofonda Cox, Dede Taylor and Alexis Mateo sharing duties behind the podium. Valentino will now appear in ads and promotions for the Dade City Campground in LGBT publications and on websites. See more photos from the pageant at WatermarkOnline.com.

LGBT actors get tons of nods
Theatre Tampa Bay recently announced its nominees for its annual awards ceremony, and it reads like a who’s who of LGBT actors, designers, directors and theaters. Out performers Eric Davis (FreeFall Theatre) has eight nominations including one for his starring role in The Normal Heart, Karla Hartley has three, designer and actor Scott Daniel has three and musician Michael Raabe has two, as does actor Matthew McGee. Speaking of The Normal Heart, the drama surrounding the early days of the AIDS epidemic, the production secured seven nominations total, as did The Divine Sister, and Two Trains Running. The theater company with the most nominations is FreeFall, with 43, followed by American Stage with 24. Both theater companies have large contingents of LGBT actors, directors and employees, as well as LGBT-centric plays. The list of nominees goes on for three pages, much too many to list here. See them all at TheatreTampaBay.org. Winners will be announced Oct. 6 at the Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.

Coco comes home—again
Coco Montrese is essentially a household name—at least among LGBT households. The Season 4 RuPaul’s Drag Race star and former Miss America never forgets her roots in Florida, and will return Labor Day weekend for a special appearance at Club Liquid in Ybor City. Tickets are $10 in advance through Liquid’s Facebook page and there’s an option for a VIP meet and greet with the star. The night’s hostess is Conundrum Infiniti and special guests performances will include Drag Clyo and Dani-Danica Panic.

Cool down after AIDS Walk
While September is slightly cooler than August in Florida (at least we tell ourselves that) it’s still easy to get overheated during AIDS Walk Tampa Bay, which is Sept. 6 this year. So to help folks cool down, and maybe raise a little more money, Gay St. Pete House will host a post-AIDS Walk swimming party from noon to 4 p.m. The B&B, owned by Brian Longstreth, is known for its hospitality and fundraising party poolside. Walkers can eat free and some drinks will be available. Donations will be accepted and will help boost the AIDS Walk Tampa Bay totals. Details on the walk are in the Tampa Bay news section of this issue of Watermark. You can also get details at AIDSWalkTampaBay.org.

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