Pride Fort Lauderdale thrills and entertains for a second year in a row

Photos by Jose Cassola / JoCa Communications

LGBT festival drew thousands of attendees, celebrity headliners and DJs and prominent transgender activists

By Jose Cassola

Pride Fort Lauderdale drew thousands of attendees over the weekend looking to show their “pride” in many ways. The Broward LGBT festival, now in its second year, was expected to break an attendance record of 60,000 people over last year’s 40,000. On Sunday, the last day of the three-day spectacle, festival goers were treated to performances by Spanish-American actress, comedian and flamenco guitarist Charo (famous for her guest appearances on the 70s and 80s TV show, “The Love Boat”) and Grammy award winner Estelle, known for her hits “American Boy” featuring Kanye West and “One Love” featuring David Guetta.

Photo courtesy of DJ Deanne

Miik Martorell, president of Pride Fort Lauderdale, said he was pleased with the turnout and is honored to be a part of the Pride legacy.

“It’s truly my honor and pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful event,” Martorell said. “We really could not do any of this without support from the community.“

Running in conjunction with Pride Fort Lauderdale was the inaugural South Florida Trans Pride, which offered transgenders vendors and resources; a separate bar with proceeds benefiting the trans community; and meet-and-greet opportunities with trans celebrities and activists. Among them were “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumna Carmen Carrera, guitarist Jaimie Wilson, author and actress Rajee Rajindra Narinesingh and trans model and singer Laith Ashley, who performed his singles “Can’t Wait” and “Before You Go.”

Charo took to the Pride stage twice as one of the promised headliners for “The Love Pride” themed event. Earlier in the day, she surprised the crowd with a rehearsal of sorts, where she performed two versions of her song, “Fantastico” — one on guitar, the other a techno remix. She later came back in the evening for the official performance.

“The song is very, very flamenco. It’s very sensual. It’s very cuchi cuchi,” Charo told the audience.

Charo surprised Pride goers Sunday with an impromptu rehearsal (above) before the official performance later in the evening (below). (Photos by Jose Cassola / JoCa Communications).

Throughout the day, DJs Deanne, Tracy Young, Power Infiniti, Guy DeGiacinto and Oscar G revved up the crowd from the main stage and the beach as hot, go-go boys danced in their underwear.

Deanne says her experience spinning at Pride Fort Lauderdale was “incredible.”

“I’m so thankful for being able to share my music with so many beautiful people,” Deanne said. “I wanted to hold true to the ‘Love Pride’ theme and bring nothing but love and fun to my set. I hope that I accomplished that.”

Above, DJ Tracy Young greets the crowd. (Photo by Jose Cassola / JoCa Communications). Below, DJ Deanne takes a selfie at Pride Fort Lauderdale. (Photo courtesy of DJ Deanne).

Estelle closed out the event Sunday evening, performing on the main stage. Weeks prior to the festival, the singer provided Pride organizers a strong statement in support of the LGBT community.

“It’s an honor to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community as we share this beautiful human experience with Pride,” Estelle said.

Grammy award winner Estelle closed out Pride Fort Lauderdale Sunday evening with a performance.

South Beach comic and drag icon Pussila — dressed in Japanese geisha attire —manned the VIP tent, introducing guests to Hiro Sake, one of the alcoholic sponsors of Pride Fort Lauderdale.

And there was plenty of alcohol flowing. Bartenders from Southern Nights Fort Lauderdale poured drinks for the VIP listers while outside on the beach in tented areas, paid cocktails were served by some of the more popular bars and gentlemen’s clubs of the Broward scene. Among them were Hunters Nightclub, LeBoy, Boardwalk and The Pub, which hosted the official Pride after-party at its venue in Wilton Manors with music, food and drink specials all night long.

South Beach comic and drag icon Pussila — dressed in Japanese geisha attire —manned the VIP tent, introducing guests to Hiro Sake, one of the alcoholic sponsors of Pride Fort Lauderdale. (Photo by Jose Cassola / JoCa Communications).

Tents and booths ran the gamut from adult entertainment (Guilty Pleasures, Amor Boutiques) to law enforcement and law firms (Wilton Manors Police Department, Southern Legal Counsel) to upcoming parties, events and conferences (Gay8 Festival, Miami Beach Gay Pride, Celebrity Cruises, Gay Days Orlando, TransCon) and LGBT nonprofits providing resources (SAVE, Unity Coalition|Coalición Unida, TransSocial, SunServe, Pride Center, Latinos Salud, AIDS Health Foundation).

“Unity Coalition|Coalicion Unida could not have been prouder to be present at Pride Fort Lauderdale, meeting and greeting our Broward friends and family, especially as part of the TransPride section of the festival,” director Herb Sosa said.

Unity Coalition|Coalicion Unida director Herb Sosa at Pride Fort Lauderdale. (Photo by Joval Valdivia).


Author: JoCa Communications

Welcome to JoCa Communications, a media and public relations company headed by Owner and President Jose Cassola, a former Miami Herald reporter. Through his firm, Cassola writes stories and drafts press releases for community newspapers, blogs and other print and online publications. Cassola is also the Founder and Creative Director of, the go-to, where-to guide for all things gay (bars, clubs, restaurants, salons, shops, hotels, etc.) in South Beach, Greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale. If you have a publication and need writers, call Jose Cassola at 305-321-4270 or email

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