ninth annual festival celebrating the gay and lesbian community
to Bryant Park today. The festival is
sponsored by Compass Inc., Palm Beach County's gay and lesbian community
center. The event begins at noon with a parade downtown from J Street,
along Lake Avenue and ending at the park band shell.
Jade Esteban Estrada will make his
first appearance in South Florida. Estrada
promises a bilingual show filled with Latin
and pop songs from his second album, "Angel."
San Antonio native, has been touring gay pride
festivals throughout the country and in Europe
for the past several years. He says he's
thrilled to represent distinct and rich
communities but often finds himself stuck between
the expectations of gays, Hispanics and the
"Gays never think I'm gay enough, Hispanics
want me only to sing in Spanish and everyone
else wants me to sing only in English,"
he said from his home in New York. "As a
result, I have three distinct careers."
Executive Director Tony Plakas said the group
picked Estrada for the festival's first
headliner because he's an emerging Latin star
who represents gay pride and it's diversity.
In past years, the festival has featured a
number of artists, including female
impersonators and dancers.
he hope to spread the message that diversity
in every group should be a source of pride and
He said he
accidentally revealed his sexual orientation
during festival three years ago. Later he
realized the implications. The Hispanic
culture has not traditionally accepted gay
have a pretty hard decision to make,"
Estrada said. "We struggle with this traditional
culture and religion and faith and the clash with
the American culture that screams, 'Be
He said his
decision to be openly gay has not hurt his career
outside the gay community.
want to be Ricky Martin or Enrique Iglesias,"
he said. "For what I'm doing and as
comfortably as I live, I think I've done quite
he's excited about his performance in Lake
Worth because the festival is gaining
statewide and national attention.
Compass has teamed with Pridefest Florida, a
group that sponsors festivals in Miami-Dade and
theme: Partners in Pride.
groups brought in by Pridefest Florida will
double parade participation. Las year, 45
groups took part in the parade.
expects a surge in festival attendance. He
predicts an increase of up to 30 percent over
the 4,000 attendees last year.
The cost to put
on the festival is between $15,000 and
$20,000, but Plakas said sponsors cover that
cost. The $5 admission fee benefits the
Compass programs such as HIV testing, youth
and senior programs and about 50 meetings
offered each month.
nice to be able to tell people that they're paying
for a party , they're making a donation to a
nonprofit," Plakas said.
moved to downtown Lake Worth in 2000 after the
years in West Palm Beach. Before the move, the
event had been criticized for sticking to a
tucked-away city park in a gay-friendly
quadrupled when we moved to Lake Worth,"
Plakas said. "it's about visibility.
That's really the point of Pridefest."
©2002 Palm Beach Post