Hundreds of Floridians braved the mid-day heat to show their support for the LGBTI community this weekend, as Cape Coral’s first ever LGBTI Pride parade took place on Saturday (5 April).
The 86-degree heat didn’t deter the crowds, with hundreds of people lining the streets to wave on the elaborately decorated floats ferrying drag queens, drag kings, and representatives of local companies.
Locals flanked the street parade in equally bright colors, donning rainbow flags, tutus, and feature boas, the News-Press reports.
The festival also hosted live music played, a beer tent, food trucks and a number of vendor booths.
Officiating the event was Grand Marshal Sonique, a drag queen who appeared on season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
1st Cape Coral Pride ever!!!! pic.twitter.com/Wu6JLLzDF7
— 6:45 (@Larrynges) April 7, 2019
‘We’re all the same’
Locals attending the Pride event spoke of how LGBTI inclusivity had increased in the town over the years.
Mike Greenwell, a 48-year-old Cape Coral resident, said that maintaining the visibility was important to building inclusivity in the neighborhood.
‘We’re all the same,’ Greenwell said. ‘It’s good to see everybody out here supporting each other.’
Pride Cape Coral! pic.twitter.com/GW1YZg63gv
— Thamar Alvarado (@thamar58) April 6, 2019
Fellow Cape Coral resident and event volunteer, Chris Kaelin, said there were more attendees than he expected.
‘I thought with as fast as they put this together, it could flop,’ Kaelin said. ‘It doesn’t look like it’s going to.’
Kaelin said he hoped the Pride event would help bring the Cape Coral’s LGBTI residents together.
‘There are so many gay people in Cape Coral, but most of them are coupled, and they don’t go out,’ the 55-year-old said. ‘They don’t know each other.’
Other locals echoed the need to keep the positive momentum of LGBTI visibility.
Sunstate Fort Myers will be at PRIDE Cape Coral this Saturday April 6th! From 4 to 8:30 p.m. stop by and say hi to Admissions and students & get your face painted! Located on SE 47th Terrace in Cape Coral. See you there 🌈💕 #PRIDECapeCoral #SunstateFortMyers pic.twitter.com/cVRuRPf2J1
— Sunstate Academy (@SunstateAcademy) April 3, 2019
The city’s first Pride event comes two years after Cape Coral passed discrimination protections for the city’s LGBT employees.
Jennifer Nelson and Jessica Cosden, the two Council Members who were fundamental in pushing through the city’s LGBT protections measure, also rode on the street parade.
Celebrations will last until Sunday, where two outdoor brunch events will be held on SE 10th Place and SE 47th Terrace from 10:30 to 1pm, with tickets priced at $25 each.