Sunday, September 26, 2010

Come Out With Pride - Pride SWFL

By Nicholas Miller

We hope you are as excited as we are at OUR upcoming SWFL Gay and Lesbian Pride event
on October 9th! This is a special weekend – Monday will be “National Coming Out Day”,
which makes October 9th a wonderful opportunity to “Come OUT with Pride!”

This year’s Pride Festival and vendor marketplace will be held from 1 PM – 5 PM on the entire campus of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Myers located at 13411 Shire Lane off Daniels & 1-75. This location provides easy access for everyone from Collier, Lee and Charlotte Counties. The festival will include our entertainment stage, vendor market, community service organizations, food, beer and more.

Pride-SWFL was created in August 2009 out of a grass roots effort to put on a community festival to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. It all started with twenty something individuals meeting in living rooms representing local businesses, local clubs, local organizations and local colleges. Within only six weeks, with no money, little experience, and only a few posters to get the word out we put together and threw a four hour festival with a stage packed full of entertainment, and over 30 participating vendors. We saw participants, vendors and volunteers from Collier, Lee and Charlotte Counties. Today we are still a 100% volunteer organization.

Why is Pride still relevant 41 years after the Stonewall Riots? We have come a long way since 1969 but we still have a long way to go in SWFL and a Pride festival is a good start. It is about saying that we are here and we vote. It is about showcasing LGBT organizations and those supporting the LGBT community. It is about belonging to and discovering a community that is larger than just the part of it we see in our daily lives. It’s about those struggling with coming out every day and it’s about those who came out years ago. It is about those who work everyday throughout the year to give us their support.

We are working to turn out our local gay lesbian, transgender and bi communities as well as their families and friends to our Pride festival. This is will be Southwest Florida’s largest GLBT event of the year. Our local sponsors, Bambusa and Tubby’s, along with our other local bars and clubs will be holding after parties to continue the festivities.

We understand that there are going to be questions, so please feel free to check out our website or join us on facebook at Pride-SWFL.

We still operate on a shoe sting budget and the heart of our success is our volunteers. If you are willing to volunteer your time on October 9th please contact us at .

If you or some you know wants to participate as a vendor, please find all the information and vendor contracts on the forms page of our website Get those contracts in quickly as available space is filling up.

Come Out, Come Out, Who Ever You Are and celebrate who we are with our friends, neighbors and families. Happy Pride SWFL!

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