Gulfport’s first official pride, Peace, Love and Pride is back after a year hiatus.
Gulfport is the spot of not one, but two pride festivals each year.
ProSisters, a women’s music radio station, started the original festival in 2018. They coined it Gulfport Peace, Love & Pride and invited the entire community to the Gulfport Casino Ballroom.
“It was great, it was very well accepted. It felt good having people come and celebrate our little city,” Lynn DiVenuti, of ProSisters said. “We don’t have gay bars here in Gulfport, because everyone is accepted everywhere.”
On Sunday, Mar. 13, Gulfport’s waterfront will see the return of Gulfport Peace, Love & Pride.
Peace, Love & Pride took a break in March 2021 amid COVID-19 concerns.
“It was bittersweet, but my conscience wouldn’t allow it,” DiVenuti said. “We would never want to be the reason someone got sick.”
That same year, Gulfport Pride, sponsored by OutCoast.com Gay Florida Travel, took place. Many people assumed the May festival was Gulfport’s first Pride, perhaps because of the excitement of stolen vibrators, subsequently well-attended vibrator races, and all-day events at downtown Gulfport bars.
But DiVenuti and her ProSisters partner Amy Oatley know the scoop.
“That’s not the first Pride,” DiVenuti said. “We are the first Pride here in Gulfport, and we’re proud of that.”
Before ProSisters forged ahead with Pride, they held the Peace, Love & Women’s Festival. It was a celebration of women, with an emphasis on queer women.
But Pride is a broader celebration of all, says DiVenuti.
“The last two years, there weren’t really events to promote,” Oatley said. “ProSisters is all about promoting and informing the community about events, so we’re happy that people are able to participate in safe fun now.”
The radio station plays music by women 90% of the time and male performers the other 10%, it’s a reverse of the typical radio playlist, ProSisters owners say.
Rain or Shine
The focus, aside from rainbow festivities, is music.
Peace, Love & Pride will take place inside as well as out. The area near Gulfport Beach will be a sprawling spot for vendors and music. Inside the Gulfport Casino, people can enjoy a cash bar and lounging area.
The festivities will kick off with songs and a mini-march by the The Gulfport Gecko Amalgamated Marching Band.
Groups such as Hot Tonic, Rum Syndicate, Elysian Sex Drive, Urban Gypsies of Florida, and DiVenuti herself will play the Casino stage all day.
“Rain or shine, we’ll be out there,” DiVenuti said with a laugh.
Proceeds benefit the Gulfport Senior Center Foundation.
Gulfport Peace, Love & Pride Festival Gulfport Casino Ballroom, 5500 Shore Blvd. S. 12-7 p.m.
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