May 20 would have been Harvey Milk's 85th birthday. But 37 years ago the country's first openly gay elected official was assassinated in his office in San Francisco's City Hall.
This weekend, thousands of people will gather in Sarasota to celebrate Milk's birthday, legacy and spirit..
The sixth annual Harvey Milk Festival includes film, art and music in a three-day tribute.
But the festival is not just a gay event, organizers say.
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"We get a very diverse crowd," said Shannon Fortner, the founder and president of the festival.
The festival started as a one-day affair that drew about 1,200 people. In the past couple of years, crowds for the three-day festival have been closer to 6,000.
Most of the festival events are free. Once exception is a screening of "Tiger Orange," a 2014 film about two estranged gay brothers who struggle to reconnect after the death of their father. That's scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Burns Court Cinema, and tickets are $10. Saturday brings a full day of free music at Five Points Park that includes Welsh singer/producer Bright Light Bright Light, and Athens, Ga., dance music duo Yip Deceiver.
Friday's highlight is an opening reception of an art exhibit titled "The Equality Gallery" at the Hub at 1680 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. The reception runs from 7-11 p.m.
Details: May 14-16, Five Points Park, 100 Central Ave., Sarasota, and other locations. Tickets: Free ($10 for Thursday's film). Information: harveymilkfestival.com.
-- Marty Clear