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Four Miami Beach Gay Pride regulars share their best parade stories

Virginia Gil
Written by
Virginia Gil

On the 10th anniversary of Miami Beach Gay Pride, four Pride vets look back on years of dressing up and getting down.

“That first year on our Palace float, I remember Latrice Royale was performing, and she did one of her jumping splits—and, you know, she’s large and in charge—so the whole float just bounced, and she disappeared out of sight. There was a moment when the crowd got quiet because they weren’t sure if she was okay. But then she stuck her head up over the top of the float, and the crowd just went crazy.”—Thomas Donall, owner of Palace Bar

“The 2012 parade was a particularly special Pride for me. Our friends at Supermarket Creative invited us on their float full of outrageous personalities. It was my first time on a float, and the energy all around me felt incredible and filled me with pride and confidence. It was beautiful to witness a sea of people, of all ages and colors, coming together to celebrate life, love and diversity.”—Gino Campodonico, publicist

“I went to the first Pride parade in 2009. I was happy that it finally made its way to Miami, considering all other major cities already had Pride events, and that it continues to grow in size despite the gay bars disappearing from Miami Beach. It felt like a unique Pride, too, because it had more of a Latin street-party feel to it rather than the super corporate ones of other cities.”—David Tijerino, occupational therapist

“In 2016, Jordin Sparks was our headline performer, and right before her performance, I went backstage and hid to watch her. Her performance was epic. But the moment that still gives me goosebumps is when she burst out spontaneously and sang ‘I Will Always Love You’ a cappella. During the song, as if on cue, the fireworks burst over the beach to illuminate the night sky, to the thrill of thousands of people watching her.”—Dave Cook, executive director,
Miami Beach Gay Pride


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