The City of Wilton Manors will host its 17th Annual Stonewall Parade and Street Festival on Saturday, June 18.
In anticipation of approximately 40,000 participants, the Wilton Manors Police Department and city officials are taking additional safety and security precautions.
"We have been discussing increased security options and plans for the past six-months," WMPD Chief Paul O'Connell said. "Following the Orlando shooting last weekend, we have received an outpouring of support from various law enforcement agencies and will be partnering with many of them for extra manpower to significantly increase security throughout the Stonewall Festival."
The Annual Stonewall Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, that commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots, will take place along Wilton Drive.
The Festival will kick off at 11 a.m. at Hagen Park with the family-oriented Stonewall Village, sponsored in part by the Leisure Services Department. The Stonewall Village will feature bounce houses, face-painting and live musical performances.
At 3 p.m. the street festival and marketplace will open up along Wilton Drive extending from Five Points/NE 26th Street to NE 20th Street, just north of Fort Lauderdale High School.
Then at 6 p.m., the much-anticipated Stonewall Parade will travel down the north side of Wilton Drive. Live music, including performances by Kat Riggins, Carlito Olivero, and multiple DJ’s on three stages, will continue until 11 p.m.
"Hate will not win," Mayor Resnick said. "Love and equality will and that is what Stonewall is all about."
Festival organizers, the Wilton Manors Entertainment Group, plans to honor the 49 individuals who lost their lives in the Orlando massacre at the main stage on NE 6th Avenue. They will be followed by 49 volunteers from Latinos Salud, one for each victim. Each will carry a sign with the name and age of the victim they represent. Additionally, all three entertainment stages will display 49 white balloons. As the group passes each stage, the balloons will be released.
"The City of Wilton Manors is a strong, resilient community that will continue to be a steadfast leader for the LGBTQ community and equality for all," Mayor Resnick said. "We will hold our heads high, continue to remember those we lost in this unthinkable tragedy and work toward a brighter future that eliminates hatred and fear."
Festival attendees are welcome to stop by the Stonewall National Museum’s gallery on Wilton Drive during the day on Saturday from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. and sign a special scroll that will be sent to Orlando in remembrance of the victims of the recent tragedy. People may write their thoughts and feelings on the scroll to share with the Orlando community.
The scroll is part of a memorial service that the City of Fort Lauderdale will hold Friday at 1 p.m. at the Parker Playhouse, 707 NE 8th Street. The Stonewall National Museum agreed to house the scroll Saturday so attendees of the Wilton Manors Stonewall Festival & Parade could sign it as well. The cities of Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors are pleased to be able to cooperate on this endeavor.
In preparation for the Stonewall Street Festival, Wilton Drive will be closed from NE 20th Street to Five Points from 4 a.m. on Saturday, June 18 to 4 a.m. on Sunday, June 19. NE 22 Street is closed from Wilton Drive to NE 5th Ave. All roads will reopen for traffic on Monday, June 20.
As a result of the 2010 US Census, the City of Wilton Manors was named the "Second Gayest City" in the United States. With a large percentage of the population identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, Wilton Manors has been recognized nationally and internationally as one of the most progressive places to live, work and play for many years.