The Manatee Pride Festival was a popular event even in its first year, and it’s been growing ever since. Rain at last year’s event kept crowds smaller, but the people who attended seemed to have a great time anyway.
This year’s festival, the fourth annual, is bigger than ever. Organizers have expanded the event from five hours to six, which means there are more live bands and more time for food, beer and fun.
It’s set to start at noon Saturday in the pavilion area of the Bradenton Riverwalk. It’s free and open to the public.
Manatee Pride is a fundraiser for Prism Youth Initiative, a private, non-profit community organization that has been providing services and a supportive center for young LGBTQ people in Manatee County since 2010.
And Darwin Brewing Company, which festival organizers are calling “Manatee’s premier craft brewer,” has signed on as a sponsor and has created a new beer especially for the event. It’s called simply Manatee Pride Beer and it will only be available at the event. It’s described as “a light, crisp refreshing lager.”
Scheduled performers include The Hatley Band, Jami Gee, Moxie Moxie and Elaine Bolton, noted drag queens Beneva Fruitville, Felicity Liemont Roxxy, Jaeda Fuentes, KeKe Monroe and Ashlee T. Bangkx and two ensembles from the Players Centre for Performing Arts in Sarasota. DJ Lexx will spin and Big Daddy Ro will be the Master of Ceremonies.
Community AIDS Network will be on site offering health screenings. Food vendors include Riverside Rollin’ Smoke, Croz’s Surfshak, B’s Cool Treats and Joey D’s.
Details: Noon-6 p.m. March 18, Bradenton Riverwalk. Free. manateepride.com.