Key West Pride 2018 Was a Sunny Mix of Cocktails, Queens & Rainbows
The island city of Key West, Florida (motto: “Close to perfect — far from normal”) celebrated Key West Pride 2018 this weekend, a celebratory mix of beach-going and cocktail slinging with a huge rainbow banner stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 8,000 travelers joined the municipal celebration, delighting in the region’s sunny beaches and perfect 80 degree weather.
The celebration also marked the 40th anniversary of the Key West Business Guild, a collection of LGBTQ-friendly businesses. The guild put on a Pride Follies stage show earlier in the month recognizing “the best (and sometimes the worst)” local performers.
Key West Pride proudly proclaims itself as “One Human Family,” and its five-day celebrations included a kickoff pool party at Island House, the all-male clothing optional resort, with an open Stoli vodka bar and DJs.
The city also hosted the finals of its 5th Annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic competition, a mix-off that requires friendly bartenders to serve up signature vodka drinks to a panel of discerning tasters. The local Bourbon Street Pub also held its Miss Pride drag pageant which involved a talent and Q&A portion.
Apart from the drag queens and cocktails, local theaters also joined in. The Waterfront Playhouse put on a stage reading of Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, a 1997 play by Moisés Kaufman about the bisexual Irish playwright’s unfortunately public sodomy trial. There were also two showings of BPM, the award-winning French documentary about ACT-UP activists in the early years of the HIV epidemic.
The Pride parade kicked off at 5 p.m. on Sunday and featured a huge banner based on Gilbert Baker’s original 1976 rainbow Pride flag, featuring eight stripes — including a hot pink and light blue stripe — in addition to the six usual rainbow colors.