Enthusiastic crowds and more than 40 vendors filled the downtown locale. The St. Petersburg-based pop/rock duo Halcyon and the Sarasota-based rock group Divine AF proudly captivated audiences, flanked by emcee Lindsay Carlton-Cline and fellow drag performers Anita Cox, Savannah Lynn and Grandma Pearl.
SARASOTA | Sarasota Pride will be held Jan. 25 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at J.D. Hamel Park, the first January outing in the celebration’s 30-year history.
Sarasota Pride, Inc., its organizing nonprofit, exists to encourage visibility for members of the LGBTQ community living in Sarasota and throughout Florida. It promotes the elimination of prejudice and defends civil rights through community activities like this year’s Pride in the Park.
SARASOTA | Sarasota Pride, Inc. announced Aug. 15 that its next PrideFest will be held Jan. 25, 2020 rather than in 2019, a departure from the organization’s traditional celebrations held in October.
Sarasota Pride aims to promote visibility and self-esteem among the LGBTQ community in Sarasota and throughout Florida. Chairman Cindy Barnes led the organization into its 29th year on Oct. 20, 2018 at J.D. Hamel Park.
SARASOTA | Sarasota Pride will hold PrideFest 2018 at J.D. Hamel Park on Oct. 20, a “Rainbow Resistance” for the organization’s 29th annual celebration.
Sarasota Pride exists to promote the elimination of prejudice and discrimination as well as to defend civil rights secured by law. The nonprofit aims to promote visibility and self-esteem among the LGBTQ community in Sarasota and throughout Florida, something the organization says it does by sponsoring events year-round.
Pride of Place: Sarasota Pride stays the course in the face of tragedy, OADO returns: anti-discrimination group to focus on gun reform, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!
The shock waves that continue to ripple through the LGBTQ community in the aftermath of the tragic shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12 have had a profound effect on Sarasota Pride. In fact, according to Cindy Barnes, who has served as the head of Sarasota Pride for nine years, the event wouldn’t even be happening at all this year if Pulse hadn’t taken place. Sarasota Pride is scheduled from 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 at J.D. Hamel Park.
“The board of directors had already made the decision that Sarasota Pride in its current form would be suspended this year, and we would focus on producing four smaller events throughout the year,” Barnes says. “Actually I was on vacation out of state when I heard what had happened in Orlando. I felt right away that there was no way we could not have a full Pride celebration in light of what had happened. I got on the phone right away with board members and, with a full court push, we were able to obtain vendors and entertainers at the last minute and to move ahead with producing the event. But if Pulse had never happened, things would be a lot different with Sarasota Pride than they are now.”
Betwixt the cacophonous roars of television-news hurricane paranoia – “It’s comin’ right fer us!!!” – and the horrific thought of a swoop of pumpkin hair covering a megalomaniac with a distinct lack of scruples – also, coming right for us, if we’re not careful – it’s hard to imagine that this issue finds us straddling two pride celebrations in their own whirlwinds of flux. Maybe that’s a good thing. It’s a life of surprises, after all. We don’t always want to read the last page first.
For me, personally, Pride celebrations carry with them so many memories of letting go, feeling free (to be, you and me, etc.) and sweating my ass off until the rain comes and turns my head into artificial crab meat fit for the breaking, wanly dripping down a drain. But this year, of course, is different.
SARASOTA – Cindy Barnes has been the face of Sarasota Pride for almost a decade. But a few months ago, Barnes had made the decision to step down as Pride director. However, her plan to resign recently took an unexpected turn.
Edward “Eddie” Sotomayor was one of the 49 victims killed in the Pulse shooting. Sotomayor was a Sarasota native and actively involved in Pride. Just before the shooting, he and Barnes arranged for a lunch meeting the following week to discuss Sarasota Pride’s future and Barnes’ decision not to continue with Pride. Sadly, Sotomayor was killed before the meeting took place.
“This is my last year of running it. I will remain on the board, but you know I’m hoping someone will step up and take this over,” Barnes says. “It’s about 20 hours a week, and it’s, of course, a volunteer job, so I have to say the call for a leader has been out about six months and I have yet to hear from a soul.”
Bangkx takes ASAP crown
Performer Ashley Bangkx was crowned Miss ASAP 2015 at Blur Nightclub in Dunedin, becoming the 10th impersonator to claim the title in as many years. The pageant featured three local performers from Tampa Bay and four former title holders were either at the judges table or performing special numbers throughout the night. Outgoing Miss ASAP 2014 Monica Moore served as emcee for the evening and pointed out that everything she wore was red—in honor of the AIDS Ribbon. One outfit—a sparkling red pants suit, could be made into the iconic ribbon, she explained, after standing with her legs slightly apart and her hands clasped above her head. Bangkx will begin her reign as Miss ASAP immediately and will be at the organization’s fundraisers, like AIDS Walk Tampa Bay, Dining Out for Life and the Santa Speedo Run.
Atwell shows support on wedding day
Upon first glance, one would have thought that the two women embracing and laughing were getting ready to tie the knot on the morning of Jan. 6 in Sarasota. But upon closer inspection, it turned out to be Sarasota Pride chairperson Cindy Barnes and Sarasota City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell celebrating the historic day. Atwell has been a long-time supporter of LGBT equality and initiatives in Sarasota and a personal friend to Barnes. Atwell has appeared at Sarasota Pride every year it’s been at JD Hamel Park and also makes it a point to appear at other LGBT events and festivals like the Harvey Milk Festival in May. Atwell could be overheard telling Barnes, “I wouldn’t miss this. We’ve worked so hard to achieve this day.” Thank you, Commissioner. We couldn’t have done it without advocates like you.
Sarasota – If pop singer Dario can nearly double the number of people at Lexington’s 2014 Pride event, the organizer of Sarasota Pride believes he can do the same there.
“His commitment to the prides has been great,” said Sarasota Pride Chairman Cindy Barnes.
Sarasota–Ever since Cindy Barnes pulled Sarasota Pride out of the shadows and onto Main Street five years ago, the festival has grown exponentially each year. In 2014, the Oct. 18 festival is expected to bring more than 5,000 to J.D. Hamel Park in one of the most visible areas of the city.
“More than 225,000 people pass by that park every six hours,” explained Barnes, chairman of Sarasota Pride. “Visibility is key to Pride and we have to be out there to let people know we are a part of the community.”