Dunedin looks a little different this month. The town has hosted a gay club and a small LGBTQ population for as long as I can remember. But this is the first time I’ve seen city-sponsored, rainbow-colored Pride banners adorn the streetlights lining Main Street.
Dunedin Pride is the latest in a series of new Pride events in small towns in Pinellas County that began with SIK Promotions’ Gulfport Pride and John Gascot’s Pride at the Village (Pinellas Park) in May-June 2021.
This is not the first time Dunedin Chamber of Commerce President Gregory Brady has brought Pride to North Pinellas. With all the Pride events in St. Pete and Tampa, Brady felt a little left out in his hometown of Dunedin, Florida. In 2010-2011 he launched North Pinellas Pride, which has been quietly organizing Pride events in Dunedin for over a decade. But this year is special.
As small town Pride events began popping up all over Pinellas County, Dunedin Mayor Julie Bujalski hired Brady to organize an official town and Chamber of Commerce powered Dunedin Pride. “We wanted [Dunedin Pride] be as unique as we are,” Dunedin Chamber of Commerce President Pam Pravetz told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
The centerpiece of the event: a parade of Pride golf carts. “It’s the Dunedin way,” says Bujalski, “golf cart parades.”
A group of city officials, including Bujalski, Dunedin City Commissioner Maureen “Moe” Freaney, and City Manager Jennifer Bramley, began listing all the occasions Dunedin celebrates with golf cart parades : Christmas, July 4th, Halloween. »
The consensus: it was only a matter of time before Dunedin started celebrating Pride with a parade of golf carts.
Dunedin Goes Carting kicked off Dunedin Pride Week on Saturday night with a parade of 87 golf carts down Dunedin’s main street. “We’re family” blared through the speakers of Michael Reed’s gimmicked golf cart, complete with disco balls and rainbow fringe. Alongside him, city officials, members of the LGBT community and allies drove golf carts decorated with everything from rainbow flags to flamingos, unicorns, balloons, leis and rainbow windsocks -in sky.
The following day, several of the same golf carts parked outside the Fenway Hotel for the official pool party and Dunedin Pride drag show. Mayor Bujalski, who never misses a good party, lay on a rainbow float among his LGBTQ constituents while DJ Luis Martinez played club tunes from a tent at the east end of the swimming pool.
Drag performers circled the pool every 15 to 30 minutes, lip-syncing to classic tunes while collecting dollar bills from revelers. A closing performance by trans-Filipino hip-hop artist Mr. Vyn Suazion wrapped up a full slate of entertainment.
The weekend may be over, but Dunedin Pride Week is just beginning. The fun continues with LGBTQ film screenings at the Hale Senior Activity Center and the Scottish American Society of Dunedin on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
Caledonia Brewing’s Dunedin Pride beer release follows on Wednesday night, followed by a women’s luau at Honu on Thursday night, a dance party at Blur on Friday night and the official Dunedin Pride Gay-Lah at the Fenway Hotel on Saturday night.