WILTON MANORS, Fla. – Wilton Drive was already packed with people Saturday evening for the annual Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride parade, celebrating South Florida’s large LGBTQ population.
Wilton Manors itself is known nationally for having a high proportion of LGBTQ residents.
Organizers expected as many as 40,000 people in attendance.
“I’ve been to multiple Chicago gay pride parades and festivals and I’m just so happy to see the turnout out here,” said Dr. Jeremy Patel, who traveled from Chicago.
Every year, according to the city, Wilton Manors gets an economic impact of more than a $1 million during Pride, but attendees said it’s about a lot more than bringing money to the area.
“It’s a very tough time for LGBT people in Florida, so you understand where we’re coming from, but today is about celebration and friendship and love and that’s what the gay community is all about,” attendee Antonio Cenceno said.
The celebration comes one year after a deadly crash marred the occasion in 2021.
One issue the city ran into this year was cost.
In light of recent mass shootings across the country and documented threats of violence against Pride events, officials said the event’s security bill is way up from roughly $50,000 to $92,000.