Posted by: MANATEE PRIDE on 03/19/2017

Love wins at annual Manatee Pride festival, drawing larger than expected crowd

Love wins at annual Manatee Pride festival, drawing larger than expected crowd

BY:  JESSICA DE LEON jdeleon@bradenton.com - MARCH 18, 2017 7:32 PM 

Photo:  Zack Wittman zwittman@bradenton.com 

BRADENTON 

Love won Saturday in Bradenton.

There was dancing. Hugs and smiles were exchanged. And the Darwin Brewing Co.’s specialty guava-flavored Manatee Pride beer was flowing — good to the last drop.

Showing her pride was important to Chelsea Jones, 23, who went to the festival by herself on Saturday. But she was all smiles.

“I came to show my pride,” Jones said. “My girlfriend is at work, so I’m showing support for both of us.”

Jones, a Bradenton resident, had never attended Manatee Pride.

“I’ve been to other pride events before, but this is great,” Jones said.

Close to an estimated 4,000 people attended the fourth annual Manatee Pride festival at the Bradenton Riverwalk that provided an afternoon jam-packed with live bands, a DJ, drag queens, food and beer to keep the love and good times flowing.

Turnout was “beyond our wildest expectations,” said Valerie Fisher, Prism Youth Initiative board president and event coordinator. The estimated 4,000 who attended far surpassed the 1,500 attendees they were hoping for.

Prism, a Bradenton nonprofit that provides services for young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, as well as those who may be questioning their gender identity or sexual preferences, organizes the annual festival.

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