Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 100715 Contents 32 • 10.7.2015
column publisher`s editorial
About fifteen years ago, when I was being treated for
cancer, in an abundance of caution, I made some
plans for my funeral. I knew I would have to be
there, so what the hell.
Anyway, for my tombstone, I came up
with a simple epitaph, which reads: “All in
all, I would rather be at the ballpark.”
This weekend, Pride Fort Lauderdale
hosts its annual holiday festival, moved
from it’s February/March date to October
this year. As the group’s chair, I guess I
have to be there. All in all, I would rather
be at the ballpark.
This year, for the first time in about 25
years, my two favorite baseball teams,
the Dodgers and the Mets, are going to
be facing off against each other in the
On Friday night, I could be in Southern
California living the dream. Instead, I will
be here in South Florida, hoping there
is no nightmare. Running a community
festival is no easy task, and experience
dictates there will be miscues.
Nevertheless, Pride Fort Lauderdale faced enormous
challenges a year ago, and it has today righted the ship.
Last October, the group was disorganized and broke,
fractured and spent. But this community has a wealth of
volunteers who were dedicated to seeing its reputation
restored; its honor recaptured.
This weekend, the festival will come off with live music
for adults, petting zoos and pony rides for kids, along
with some health and educative seminars for interested
members of the community. Pride Fort Lauderdale
has been empowered through major donations by
the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors
Bureau, as well as the ever-generous and
often unappreciated AIDS Healthcare
First, Pride Fort Lauderdale was
enormously helped by Orlando Castellano,
who manages Holiday Park, and who lent
his experience, expertise, and enthusiasm
to our efforts, insuring we were on time
and up to par with permits, codes, and
practices. A member of our community,
he is a reminder of what you can achieve
when you have the city on your side,
working with you.
Second, the festival itself was
resuscitated and rescued when Miik
Martorell, the owner of Hot Flyers, and
a long time Pride volunteer, decided to
put his imprimatur and reputation on the
line. He was not only determined to make
the festival happen. He was THE one that
made it happen. His dedication and perseverance rose to
the occasion, often at the expense of his own business.
My tenure as chair was singularly designed to restore
credibility and lend professional accountability to the
group. We fought for and won back our tax-exempt
status with the IRS, but more importantly, we won
back the respect of the community organizations we
are responsible to. We have now partnered with local
businesses to run the festival, and earned their faith.
We have gone from being $30,000 in debt to having
$30,000 in the bank to run a carefully budgeted festival.
Hopefully, we will come out of it in the black. Any way
you cut it, we should come out of it with your respect.
This year, we honor long time supporters like SHE
Magazine and the Boardwalk. We recognize past
supporters to our Hall of Fame, Scott Holland of HotSpots
and Lori Whittaker, who just sold Sidelines.
A pride group in any city is a partnership of volunteers
willing to give up themselves to support others. It’s not
about what we can do to promote your business. It’s about
what we can do together to promote our community.
Earlier this year, a long time Pride ally, Miss Vicki
turned 90, and we learned she was about to become
homeless. Jodi Fisher, a lawyer altruistically volunteered
to become her guardian, and our community generously
donated over $10,000 to underwrite costs necessary to
keep her going. Thank you for making a difference.
While we hold an annual festival, Pride Fort Lauderdale
has been running events all year. Our Pride Honors
Series has recognized the achievements of a number of
distinguished persons, including later this month, Nikki
Grossman of the CVB and Michael Kahane of AHF. Earlier
this year, we honored jurists Robert Lee and Lisa Porter,
along with Fort Lauderdale’s gay city commissioner, Dean
Simple events like this only come about because the
Pride Center of Equality Park lent us their facilities;
Bobby Keyser of Panache Catering supported us with his
event planning, and Dignity Memorial, funeral providers,
underwrote the catering costs.
holiDay Park PriDe ForT
We have gone
debt to having
$30,000 in the
bank to run
It’s All About Coming Together
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