Non-Profit Organization: ALSO Youth
Favorite LGBT Group: Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota
Annual Event: Sarasota Pride - Winter Wonderland!
LGBT Activist: Shannon M Fortner
LGBT Owned Business: Mellow Mushroom Sarasota
Favorite Business: The Reserve SRQ
Area Attraction: The Ringling
Performing Arts Venue: Asolo Repertory Theatre
Pet Lodging: SPOT srq Dog Grooming
Realtor: Jim Jablonski
Insurance Agency: Allstate Insurance Agent: Richard Dean Plummer II
Hotel: Art Ovation Hotel, Autograph Collection
Travel Agency: myXOAdventures
Apartment Community: ARCOS Apartments
Church: MCC Church of the Trinity
Salon: SALON FORTY ONE On Palm Avenue
Fitness Center: Balance Health + Fitness
Health Care Professional: Complete Care Group
Community Bank: Sabal Palm Bank
Beauty Spa: The Laser Lounge Spa of Sarasota
Make-UP Artist: MOD Makeup on Demand
Coffee Spot: The Reserve SRQ
Restaurant: Sage SRQ
Chef: Christopher Covelli
Brunch: Station 400 Sarasota
Happy Hour: G2H2 Sarasota - Gay Group Happy Hour
Bar: Purple Rhino Lodge
Bartender: Hunter Vance
LGBT Bar Purple Rhino Lodge
Drag Queen Bingo: Beneva Fruitville's Drag Queen Bingo Bonanza at McCurdys
Boutique: Pixie Dust Metaphysical Boutique
Wedding Venue: Selby Gardens - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Interior Designer: Interior Design Society of Sarasota
Gallery: The Ringling
Artist: Tom A. Ford
Photographer: Samantha Ponzillo Media
Musician: Jami Sophia Gee
DJ: Lucy Blu
Adult Novelty Store: Giggles Sarasota
Drag Personality: Beneva Fruitville
Social Media Personality: Joey Panek
Youth: Tyler Lerch
ICON AWARD: Margaret Good
by staff writer, Monica C.
Watermark reported a story today stating: "Sarasota Pride, Inc. announced Aug. 15 that its next PrideFest will be held Jan. 25, 2020, rather than in 2019." Abandoning 2019 is missing out on a significant milestone in LGBT history as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and 2019 is Sarasota Pride's 30th anniversary.
Cindy Barnes has led the organization into its 29th year last year at J.D. Hamel Park and attributes the reason for moving pride this year is because of Oktoberfest. “The park [J.D. Hamel] is hosting Oktoberfest Oct. 18-20 and the city only allows so many events per date within the city limits.” Cindy stated.
“Sarasota Pride moves into the Winter WONDERLAND!” Cindy muses. “We are hoping for cooler weather."
Cindy added that while Oct. 12 WAS available, which could have allowed for a festival in 2019, it conflicted with two other Pride celebrations in Florida. “Pulling from the same resources just makes a successful event almost impossible,” she said.
Joshua Beadle, the owner of SarasotaOUT.com, isn't pleased with Sarasota Pride, Inc's decision to cancel 2019 pride and is now encountering complications. "I have been hard at work on scheduling events for a week-long celebration called Sarasota Pride Week that would have concluded with Sarasota Pride, Inc's festival. Sarasota Pride Week was launched last year by SarasotaOUT.com with no affiliation to Sarasota Pride, Inc. "I created Sarasota Pride Week to address the concerns from the community that Sarasota Pride, Inc. was not being inclusive or allowing the community to be involved. I had many conversations with people who were suggesting to start a new pride. My answer to that was to simply add-on to what Sarasota Pride, Inc has already created so that everyone could be included in some way."
2019 was going to be the second year of SarasotaOUT.com's Sarasota Pride Week. "Anyone that plans events like this knows it takes months of preparation and as of this May - I was under the impression that pride was still happening in October," Joshua stated. "Sarasota Pride, Inc's Facebook and website were not helpful. They were both still promoting 2018's Pride. I needed to speak with someone from Sarasota Pride Inc. directly to confirm the 2019 dates so I could start planning and promoting Sarasota Pride Week including a new event that I was really excited about. I was working on chartering the LeBarge for a Sunset Pride Cruise."
"After contacting Sarasota Pride, Inc. a couple times throughout the year with no reply, I did get an answer from Cindy. She replied very simply to my question about pride being held in October, stating it would be "safe" for me to go ahead and book my events around October dates. And this was in May. " Joshua explained.
"Now, with this turn of events, I'm trying to reschedule events. I've reached out to the LeBarge about rescheduling the cruise and am nervously awaiting their reply." Joshua said. "Why didn't Sarasota Pride, Inc. consider a new location outside the city limits? Why didn't they reach out to the community for help? Why didn't they reserve J.D. Hamel Park a year in advance?" Joshua questioned.
"I do believe Sarasota deserves the BEST! We deserve a pride celebration that rivals Tampa and why not aim for a pride that rivals St. Petersburg! That was my goal with Sarasota Pride Week. It was not intended to change what Cindy and her team are doing, only to enhance it. I do wish Cindy and the Sarasota Pride, Inc. team the best of luck in 2020 and SarasotaOUT.com will do whatever we can to enhance and promote the festival." Joshua said positively.
It appears that some of the community expects more from Sarasota Pride as well. Joshua posted on facebook a week ago asking if anyone has heard anything official about pride, being that it is only 3 months away.
The post received numerous comments with similar complaints of having tried to contact Sarasota Pride, Inc. with no reply.
Berry Ayers aka Beneva Fruitville, who has voiced her opinion numerous times on Sarasota Pride, Inc. commented: " ...The board is made up of a group of friends who is tyrannically run by one person. Cindy’s way or the highway. I have tried to join the board two years ago, was never informed of meetings and was lied to. Their lack of transparency and complete disregard for the community they’re attempting to represent can no longer be tolerated."
In 2017, Beneva Fruitville led a boycott againsts Sarasota Pride, Inc. when the organization didn't want to allow drag performers to participate in the festival.
The boycott began when a local queen reached out to a board member offering to perform at the festival for free and received a response stating there will be music all day and no queens and that's the way they want it.
After a social media outrage, the board released a joint statement that Sarasota Pride, Inc. would be more inclusive, diverse and welcoming to those who felt removed from the Pride Fest schedule. The following year, Beneva was replaced without notice as hostess of Sarasota Pride Inc's pride festival.
Beneva has led the discussion within the community about having a new pride. One she says would be "more inclusive." Joshua doesn't think that is the best answer. "I believe we just need to find a way to work together and create something really BIG. Perhaps we need to have a community forum?" Joshua commented.
Do you think there is a problem with our current pride? Do you think a new pride is a good idea or a bad idea? How do you feel about skipping 2019? Are you excited for 2020? Sound off in the comment section below.
UPDATE: 08/16/19 | Are you interested in joining the Sarasota Pride board? A primary responsibility of board directors is to participate in the development of fundraising events and decision-making regarding Sarasota Pride. Here's a link to submit a questionnaire. The website also states if you have any questions to contact Cindy Barnes directly at 941-320-9268 or message their facebook page.
UPDATE: 08/16/19 | Sarasota Pride, Inc has set up a GoFundMe page today, asking for donations to help with costs of the 2020 pride event.
UPDATE: 08/17/19 | The GoFundMe page was removed.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of SarasotaOUT.com
By Joshua Beadle
The holidays are fast approaching and there's so much to do... holiday parties, happy hours, working, happy hours, cooking, working out, and more happy hours... and dont forget about all the gift buying! We wanted to make sure that this holiday season you help support your community by shopping locally so SarasotaOUT.com gathered a list of gift ideas from local LGBT friendly and LGBT owned businesses! Check out our list below and make sure to tell them SarasotaOUT.com sent you! Happy shopping... and see you at the happy hours!
Have an IDEA that didn't make the list? Add it to the comments below.
and the winners are....
Favorite Non-profit Organization: ALSO Youth
Favorite LGBT Annual Event: Sarasota Pride, Inc
Favorite LGBT Community Leader/Activist: Shannon M Fortner
Favorite LGBT Owned Businesses: Purple Rhino Lodge
Favorite Area Attraction: The Ringling
Favorite Performing Arts Venue: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Favorite Local Actor/ Actress: Brian Craft
Favorite Realtor: Nate Brooks
Favorite Hotel: The Westin Sarasota
Favorite Apartment Community: ARCOS Apartments
Favorite Church: MCC Church of the Trinity
Favorite Salon: SALON FORTY ONE On Palm Avenue
Favorite Beauty Spa: The Laser Lounge Spa of Sarasota
Favorite Restaurant: Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi
Favorite Bartender: Hunter Vance
Favorite Bar: Oasis - Sarasota's Premier LGBT + Venue
Favorite LGBT Club: Oasis - Sarasota's Premier LGBT + Venue
Favorite Drag Queen Bingo: Beneva Fruitville's Bingo Bonanza
Favorite Interior Designer/ Company: Beginning to End Interiors
Favorite Musician/ Band: Divine AF
Favorite Drag Personality: Beneva Fruitville
Favorite DJ: D.j. Brianna Lee
Favorite Adult Novelty Store: Giggles Sarasota
Favorite Social Media Personality: Joey Panek
2018 SarasotaOUT.com's OUT ICON AWARD: Shannon M Fortner
Sarasota's OUT Award winners:
FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ ANNUAL EVENT: Harvey Milk Festival
FAVORITE LOCAL NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION: ALSO Youth
FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ ACTIVIST: Nate Quinn
FAVORITE LOCAL HAIR SALON: d. cole hair design
FAVORITE LOCAL FITNESS CENTER: CRUNCH
FAVORITE LOCAL REALTOR: Robert Krasow Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company
FAVORITE AREA MUSEUM OR GALLERY: The Ringling
FAVORITE AREA ATTRACTION: Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
FAVORITE LOCAL RESTAURANT: Clasico Sarasota
FAVORITE LOCAL BARTENDER: Hunter Vance
FAVORITE LOCAL BAR: Barrel 87
FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ NIGHTCLUB/BAR: Elevate - Level 2 at Starlite
FAVORITE LOCAL HOTEL: Aloft Sarasota
FAVORITE LOCAL TRAVEL AGENCY or AGENT: ALandCHUCK.travel
FAVORITE LOCAL COFFEE SHOP: Pastry Art
FAVORITE LOCAL HAPPY HOUR: Barrel 87
FAVORITE LOCAL PERFORMING ARTS VENUE: Manatee Performing Arts Center
FAVORITE LOCAL ACTOR: Brian Craft
FAVORITE LOCAL ACTRESS: Corinne Woodland
FAVORITE LOCAL MUSICIAN/BAND: Eduardo Correa
FAVORITE LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA PERSONALITY: Mattyson Barksdale
FAVORITE LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER: Barbara Banks
FAVORITE LOCAL DRAG PERSONALITY: Brianna Summers
FAVORITE LOCAL ADULT NOVELTY STORE: Giggles Sarasota
2017 OUT ICON AWARD: Beneva Fruitville
Ok Hunties, lets spill the T on who is, and has been on the TOP of the Sarasota Queen Scene. Here is our list:
#5. Arica Love
Arica Love may not be in Sarasota anymore but she definitely left her mark. Arica was the co-founder of Cream Thursday, one of Sarasota's most popular gay nights. She has worked at almost every Sarasota gay club, started her own Drag Queen Brunch, had her own web series, filmed a documentary and worked for OMG! Magazine *deep breath* and so much more!
#4. Rockell Blu
Rockell Blu is a relatively new queen thats ambushing the Sarasota scene. She currently hosts Elevate - Friday Nights at Starlite, has hosted her own charity event at Flamingo, was a former Vegas girl and was featured world wide on Willams Beat Down.
#3. Lindsay Carlton
Lindsay is known as the First Lady of Sarasota. She has her own music video on youtube, hosts her own showcase at the Purple Rhino and has co-stared in Sarasota's famous Drag Queen Bingo Bonanza!
#2. Spikey Van Dykey
Spikey is Sarasota and beyonds most iconic drag king. Known for her recognizable binding techniques and has been seen on stages across the nation. She's been featured on Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post plus sells her own line of custom airbrushed costumes! Spikey works hard and has earned the #2 spot on our list!
Beneva is Sarasota's most iconic drag performer with regular appearances on daytime television's Suncoast View. She has her own feature length Christmas special (Beneva’s Christmas Special), is the host of her repetitively SOLD OUT Drag Queen Bingo Bonanza and is a passionate LGBT philanthropist which makes Beneva #1 on our list of Top 5 Sarasota Drag performers!
Well there's our list! We know there are a lot of honorable mentions we didn't get to mention, like Kiki Butter Mischief, Lady Liemont - plus a slew of up-and-coming girls! We at SarasotaOUT can't wait to see what they will serve us in the years to come and we will be there to shine the spotlight on them!
By: Joel Pozo & Joshua Beadle