a group of people posing for a photo in bleachers of a stadium
Members of Niceville PFLAG take a photo at Niceville High School's football stadium

Emerald Coast Pride (formerly known as Niceville Pride) has returned for another celebrate of Pride Month. The group is “roaring back to celebrate, affirm, and advocate for the lives of LGBTQ+ people of all ages in our community.”

This year’s expanded Pride includes three Saturdays of events in three different cities in the Niceville-Fort Walton Beach- Crestview area.

All three events of Emerald Coast Pride are completely free and fully inclusive. Everyone is welcome, regardless of race, class, age, ability, sex, gender, or sexuality. These will be spaces of love.

Emerald Coast Pride is hosted by PFLAG Niceville, a non-profit support, education, and advocacy group for LGBTQ+ people and their friends and allies. PFLAG Niceville holds a support group each second Sunday of the month at 6:00pm at the UUFEC in Valparaiso, FL. Go to their website to learn more

7 local businesses and individuals also sponsor Emerald Coast Pride. For a detailed list of sponsors and other businesses affirming of LGBTQ+ people, please visit EmeraldCoastPride.com. 

Trey Crouse, one of the four 2022 PFLAG Niceville college scholarship recipients, explained: “Having these Pride events gives those who are normally excluded by society a chance to see that they are never alone, that they have many allies and community members by their side fighting with love and compassion to make the world a more loving and accepting place.”

Dr. David Simmons, President of PFLAG Niceville, and co-chair of Emerald Coast Pride explained: “This year, more than any other in recent memory, we have seen those in the highest positions of power in Florida use their power and privilege to actively harm marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ Floridians. We reject this. Emerald Coast Pride seeks to nonviolently transform hearts and minds—to show the truth that we are full members of this community, deserving of all human rights, respect, and privileges. Emerald Coast Pride seeks to save, love, affirm, and celebrate LGBTQ+ lives.” 

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Fort Walton Beach Pride 2023 Event

On Saturday, June 10th, the Pride Walk and Vendor Fair will be held at Liza Jackson Park in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. The day will begin at 8:00am with a Vendor Fair surrounding the big pavilion. This will include 5 food trucks, 32 vendors, and a DJ. This is a family event with playgrounds, face painting, glitter tattoos, and hair wraps for kids.

PFLAG Niceville will give away free pens, stress balls, sunglasses, buttons, stickers, and more. A silent auction, several raffles, and Emerald Coast Pride t-shirt sales will raise money to provide college scholarships for LGBTQ+ students in northwest Florida.

The event in Fort Walton Beach will feature a Pride Walk “Hundreds of LGBTQ+ people, along with their friends and allies, will march on the sidewalk east from Liza Jackson Park to Sound Park. There, we will meet local mothers of LGBTQ+ youth who will offer “Mom Hugs” to anyone who wants one. Those with age or mobility issues are welcome to participate by handing out free bottles of water at Sound Park. After a brief stop, we will march back to the Vendor Fair at Liza Jackson Park,” a statement from the group said. 

Emerald Coast Pride asks supports to bring hand-made Pride signs and LGBTQ+ flags to wave. PFLAG Niceville will provide free signs and pride regalia.

The march will be followed by an open mic session where members of the LGBTQ+ community will be able to speak. The event will end at 2:00pm. 

 

Crestview Pride 2023 Event

On Saturday, June 17, the Pride Family Cookout will be held in Twin Hills Park in Crestview, FL from 4:00-6:00pm. Free hamburgers, hot dogs, snacks, and drinks will be provided. This is a family event that will feature lawn games and encourage community. Feel free to walk around the lake or enjoy the playground and athletic courts. 

 

Okaloosa Island Pride Prom 2023 Event

On Saturday, June 24th, the Pride Prom (for all ages) will be held at The Island Resort Aruba Ballroom. The DJ will play music from 6:30-10:00pm. Free food and drinks will be provided. The dress is “come as you are.” Dress up or dress down, you are welcome no matter what you wear. 

Note that police security and medical volunteers will be provided at all three events of Emerald Coast Pride to ensure a safe time for all. 

 

For more information on Emerald Coast Pride, please visit: EmeraldCoastPride.com. To become a sponsor or to donate to Emerald Coast Pride, please email: logan@pflagniceville.com.

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