PHOTOS: Central Florida celebrates its WAVE winners with party at Parliament House

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Central Florida celebrated the 2020 Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence (WAVE) winners with a huge party at the Parliament House in Orlando March 6.

Hosted by Gidget Galore, the night’s event featured entertainment by WAVE Award-winners Erica Roberts, Rebekah Piatt, Lady Boys of The Peek-A-Boo Lounge’s Salvation Mercy and Hamburger Mary’s Orlando’s Broadway Brunch Bunch. A special thank you to Parliament House, a  multiple WAVE winner this year, for not only hosting the event but also catering it from its second place finisher for Favorite Locally-owned Restaurant, the Rainbow Cafe, and to the WAVE-winning team at Lee Forrest Design for the beautiful centerpieces.

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PHOTOS: Watermark kicks off Third Thursday at Hope & Help

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Watermark kicked off a new year of its Third Thursday networking socials at Hope & Help in Winter Park Jan. 16.

Attendees got a chance to tour the new facilities of the Central Florida nonprofit as well as win amazing raffle prizes, proceeds of which benefited Hope & Help.

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PHOTOS: Orlando Ballet opens new center named for philanthropist Harriett Lake

By : Samantha Neely
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ORLANDO | The Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre officially opened its doors to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 10. 

Complete with multiple dance studios, a 400-seat auditorium that can be converted into a 450-seat ballroom and multiple programs for dancers to choose from, the building was opened with round of applause as the board of directors cut the silver ribbon. 

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PHOTOS: Parliament House’s courtyard gets lit for the holiday season

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Parliament House Orlando rang in the season with holiday cheer during its annual Light Up the Courtyard festivities Dec. 7.

After a lively dance number from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” stars Jack Skellington and Sally, Parliament House Entertainment Director Ms. Darcel Stevens called for all the trees in the courtyard to be lit up. Then attendees watched as Santa Claus, Mitzvah Moose, Krampus and other various holiday characters paraded down the courtyard with local LGBTQ organizations including the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band and Color Guard, Bliss Cares and the Orlando Youth Alliance.

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PHOTOS: Central Florida Zoo premieres 2019 Asian Lantern Festival

By : Danny Garcia
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SANFORD, Fla. | The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens previewed its 2019 Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild Nov. 19 before opening it to the public Nov. 20.

Based on traditional Asian lanterns, this outdoor exhibit features over 30 massive light-up sculptures, all handmade and lit by thousands of LED lights. One of the most impressive lanterns featured was the massive orange and red dragon that stretched for 200 feet.

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UCF, Valencia hold events in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: Blue, white and pink flowers and candles placed on UCF’s famous Pegasus seal in the Student Union for Transgender Day of Remembrance. (Photo by Lora Korpar)

The University of Central Florida (UCF) and Valencia College both observed Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on Nov. 20 with events to honor victims of anti-transgender violence.

Valencia’s East Campus held an event with speakers, booths representing local LGBTQ organizations, performances and a candlelight vigil in which the names of the 311 transgender people killed around the world since last year’s TDOR were read aloud.

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PHOTOS: Halloween was scary, good fun at Parliament House

By : Danny Garcia
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ORLANDO | Even with Halloween being on a Thursday this year, crowds packed into the Parliament House in Orlando Oct. 31 to show off their costumes, as well as participate in the club’s weekly Latin Night party and Bearoke in the Bear Den.

The main pool stage was the location for the night’s $3,000 grand prize costume contest. The final two consisted of Saturday night’s costume contest runner-up, Maleficent — with an impressive wingspan — and “Game of Thrones” villain White Walker riding a dragon who breathed actual fire.

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PHOTOS: Costumed pups (and their two-legged friends) attend the Central Florida grand opening of A Ruff Day Bark Club

By : Danny Garcia
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ORLANDO | A Ruff Day Bark Club is the newest business in the Lake Nona area. Their grand opening open house was held Oct. 26 and welcomed pets, and their owners, to check out the amazing new digs.

After the official ribbon cutting took place, all four- and two-legged friends were invited to see the amenities the new business offers to pamper your pets, including luxury staycation suites, self dog-wash services and an observation lounge where pet parents can watch their pups have fun with their friends while partaking in a refreshing glass of wine or an ice cold beer.

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PHOTOS: Parliament House celebrates Halloween early with huge costume party

By : Danny Garcia
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ORLANDO | It was a dark and stormy night, well it was earlier in the evening, but once the clouds parted and the rain went away the Halloween revelers crowded Parliament House Orlando for a night of dancing, drinking and all around good scares Oct. 26.

Parliament House’s annual Halloween Costume Contest is notorious for bringing out some of Central Florida’s most creative people all itching to win the grand prize — $5,000 cold hard cash!

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PHOTOS: Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit brings fun and education to LGBTQ youth

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The City of Orlando, Zebra Coalition and LGBTQ organizations across Central Florida celebrated LGBTQ youth with the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit at Valencia College’s West Campus on Oct. 19.

Dozens of LGBTQ youth, parents, guardians, community leaders and local educators spent the day learning about topics such as queer history, politics and health services to name a few. LGBTQ organizations including Equality Florida, Hope & Help, QLatinx, UCF’s LGBTQ+ Services, GLSEN, One Orlando Alliance and more held a information fair providing information to the youth on what each of them do for the community.

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PHOTOS: Come Out With Pride celebrates 15th annual festival and parade in Orlando

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) brought rainbows and all to the Pride festival in Lake Eola Park and The Most Colorful Parade in the streets of downtown Orlando for the 15th annual celebration Oct. 12.

Thousands and thousands of attendees poured into the Lake Eola area waving flags, collecting beads and having a gay ol’ time! COWP’s 2019 celebration was also the most sustainable, not only in the history of pride, but ever at lake Eola.

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PHOTOS: Come Out With Pride kicks off its 2019 week of events with Drag Race 5K

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride kicked off its week-long Pride celebration with the second annual Drag Race 5K at Lake Baldwin’s Harbor Park in Orlando Oct. 6.

The participants lined up to walk, run and sashay their way around lake Baldwin after starting the festivities off with a good old pep rally.

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