There was lots to do and see on Oct. 21 during The Sarasota Pride Festival: "LGBTQ+ A Lot More."
Just a few of the offerings at the 32nd annual festival, which spanned a large section of Boulevard of the Arts, were a pride concert and other live performances, a market with many LGBTQ+-inspired products and a pet parade and costume contest.
“We are very excited to be able to host the 32nd annual Sarasota Pride, for the fact that at this moment in time, representation matters,” said Project Pride president Jason Champion, noting that the festival welcomes all individuals to participate.
He said this year, the festival introduced a new space for those with disabilities and also brought in sign language interpreters.
Some of the notable aspects of the event included speeches by Zander Moricz, founder and executive director of The Social Equity through Education Alliance, and city of Sarasota Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch.
The event also hosted many performers from outside Sarasota, including drag queen Thorgy Thor, who came to international attention on the TV series "RuPaul’s Drag Race."
However, guests said a highlight of the experience was the sense of community present. Christine Wanat, part of the diversity chorus present at the event, praised the event’s sense of openness.
“It was one of the most amazing, fun events I’ve been to,” she said.
Champion estimated a turnout of 3,000 people throughout the day.
“It’s overwhelming support and love, and we look forward to hosting these events for many years to come,” he said.