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PRIDE Cape Coral: First event of its kind this weekend

By Staff | Apr 4, 2019

Cape Coral’s entertainment district will play host to a weekend of equality for members and supporters of the LGBT community this Saturday and Sunday.

South Cape Hospitality & Entertainment Associations’ PRIDE Cape Coral takes place on Southeast 47th Terrace April 6-7, and is a celebration of people from all walks of life coming together in harmony.

“PRIDE Cape Coral is just one more step in the direction of showing others that we’re a city that comes together and supports one another; that we respect each other as people,” said SCHEA Director, Karmen Forrester.

She believes this first-of-its-kind free event in the Cape is something the Southwest Florida community needs.

“Cape Coral really is paradise – from its beautiful canals to the people who live here. It is time to come together and show support of equality for everyone. Cape Coral is ranked as the 24th happiest city in the US. Unfortunately, it ranks low in respect to perception of its acceptance of diversity. Cape Coral is a fast-growing city, so it’s important to do all we can to make everyone feel welcome,” she said.

When asked if she believes the region needs to be more open minded when it comes to the LGBT community, she said, “Certainly. We’d love to see this area climb the ranks in respect to diversity and acceptance studies and polls. More so, it’s about respecting others as people rather than judging them based on their race, ideology or sexual orientation.”

The festivities begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday, as food trucks, drink tents, kids games and a vendor village will line the street.

A tutu drag race with cash prizes will be held at 5 p.m. (signups at 4:30) before the first-ever PRIDE Parade makes it way down Southeast 47th Terrace at 5:30, from Southeast 15th Avenue to Southeast 8th Court.

The parade’s Grand Marshal will be Sonique, a nationally-known drag queen and transgender activist, best known from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and LA Pride, where she was a backup dancer for Christina Aguilera.

The procession will feature entertainment, dignitaries, floats, vintage cars and more.

“Who doesn’t love a parade and music?” said Forrester. “There will be kids’ games and food trucks, too. No matter the age, there is something for everyone.”

As the jubilation makes it way down South Cape’s newly re-worked street, it will be followed by a night of entertainment on the big stage at Southeast 10th Place where national and local acts will perform from 7-10 p.m.

The lineup includes: Sheena Brook (7:30 p.m.), a Southwest Florida native who appeared on season 12 of NBC’s “The Voice;” Skye Strickler (8:30), an award-winning songwriter and “rising star,” who is breaking barriers with his cross-pop, genre-bending songwriting skills; and Madison (9:30), also a “Voice” contestant, who has played across the country and overseas, as well as the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after show.

The event will be emcee’d by B103.9’s Mad Mel.

An outdoor drag show Sunday brunch will wrap up the weekend at the intersection of Southeast 10th Place and Southeast 47th Terrace.

Two, two-hour seatings are available from 10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. and 1-3 p.m.

The menu includes coffee and pastries from Perk & Brew, homemade biscuits with sage pork sausage gravy from Nice Guys, a cinnamon roll french toast with house made orange maple syrup and maple bacon from Big Blue Brewing, raw oats soaked in coconut milk with berry compote, Greek yogurt, slivered almond and mint from Cafe YOU and mimosas, bloody mary’s and screwdrivers.

“I feel this is something the city needs to do to show we’re inclusive to all walks of life,” said Alison Polo of Zak’s Jewelry, a platinum sponsor for the festival, who said this has always been a cause near and dear to her heart.

“I want it to be fun, with people having a good time and no issues. People can be out enjoying other people, food, entertainment and vendors. It’s a day to enjoy.”

It’s an event she hopes to see become a staple in the community for years to come.

“It can bring a vibe that’s different that anything we’re used to. I’d like to see it become an annual event.”

Twenty-five percent of the event’s net proceeds will be donated to Visuality Florida, a non-profit that strives to end violence, harassment and discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual expression.

For more information and Sunday brunch tickets, visit www.pridecapecoral.com.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj