Palm Beach Pride in Lake Worth Beach includes a parade and mass wedding

LAKE WORTH BEACH — The wedding bells will ring loudly this weekend as 30 couples take their vows in a mass wedding to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Palm Beach Pride celebration.

Returning for the first time in two years, Palm Beach Pride is presented by Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center. The two-day festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at Bryant Park in Lake Worth Beach.

The event will include live entertainment, food trucks, vendors, family activities and Sunday will feature the annual Pride Parade at 11 a.m. followed by the Mass Wedding at 1 p.m. The Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office will officiate the ceremony, which was inspired by a wedding mass at the Clerk’s Office on Valentine’s Day.

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“Every year we are proud,” said Julia Murphy, Compass’s Director of Development. “We wanted to do something different to celebrate our 30th anniversary.”

Couples who got married in Sunday’s ceremony had to complete a registration form provided by Compass and obtain a marriage license at least a week before the event.

Palm Beach Pride Parade in downtown Lake Worth on Sunday, March 25, 2018. This year's parade theme is ÒRainbow Resistance.Ó Sam Franks, 2, Tequesta attends his second Palm Beach Pride Parade .

“It’s awesome,” said Rolondo Barreo, curator artist at Box Gallery in West Palm Beach. “What better way to celebrate than getting married with all of your family and adoptive family around you and celebrating?”

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Barreo has an art instillation that will be on display at the festival, which attracts over 30,000 people each year. The weekend weather is expected to be perfect and should help attract strong turnout again. Barreo says it’s different from most Pride events because it’s more of a family event.

The organizers ensure that hand sanitizing stations will be present during the outdoor event and encourage social distancing.

More than 115 vendors are expected as well as 15 catering options. Murphy said entertainment will be split between the two days, with Saturday reserved for 15 local performers. Sunday will headline Yoli Mayor, a 2017 “America’s Got Talent” semi-finalist.

“They call her the Cuban Adele,” Murphy said of the mayor. “She represents our organization in the way we want to be inclusive and diversity conscious, and her voice is nothing short of amazing.”

The event comes at a turbulent time for the LGTBQ+ community with the proposal of what some are calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bill currently being debated in Florida. Murphy said the proposal had been difficult to deal with in the community.

“The saddest thing is that it speaks directly to young people, whose voice they often don’t have and it takes their voice away even more,” Murphy said. “It’s discouraging.”

Despite the difficult circumstances presented by the proposal, Murphy says for the LGBTQ community, this weekend’s extravaganza is an opportunity to come together in celebration and unity.

“We come together during the crisis and in times like this, and we’re going to come together and be stronger,” Murphy said. “We will never stop fighting for human rights.”

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Palm Beach Pride Celebration

When: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Parade: The parade begins at 11 a.m. Sunday. The route follows Lucerne Avenue west, then heads south on J Street to Lake Avenue before continuing east on Lake Avenue and ending at Bryant Park.

Cost: Tickets are available in advance for $8 and $10 at the door.

Car park: Street parking is available as well as paid parking lots.

For more information: Visit the Palm Beach Pride section of the Compass website.

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