ON THE GO
Attendees from around the world, including Chicago, enjoy sun-filled Curacao Pride
Sun. October 20, 2019 12:00 AM
by Ross Forman
The 7th annual Curacao Pride – a 4-day event last fall, highlighted by a Pride Walk – was the biggest and best yet, with international attendees from about 20 countries and at least seven U.S. states, including Chicago residents, organizers said.
In fact, I snapped a photo at the White Party, held around the pool of the Floris Suite Hotel – Spa & Beach Club, one of the three in the photo said he's from Chicago, more specifically, northwest suburban Schaumburg.
Jurandy Regina, the Curacao Pride organizer, said this year's event "surpassed all expectations and was a great success ...all activities were well (attended)."
Curacao Pride kicked off with a Pre-Pride Get-Together at Henry's Ultimate Gin Bar – and more than 100 attended.
The Pride Walk went from Rif Fort to Wilhelmina Park, leading into a three-hour Pride Opening Ceremony and concert, with a moving speech from Giselle McWilliam, who is Curacao's Minister of Economic Development. About 800 participated in the Walk and another 800 or more lined the route, cheering and taking pictures.
No protestors were spotted at the Walk.
The Pride Opening Ceremony & Concert featured several DJs, with a mix of English and Spanish songs. Miami-based entertainer Tiffany T. Fantasia was the host, dressed in flashy blue and yellow – the colors of Curacao's flag. She held host duties for all Pride events.
Singer Paul Morris drew a loud reception at every performance, particularly the opening concert, kicking off his set with Let's Get Loud from Jennifer Lopez. He also sang and danced to Luis Fonsi's 2017 hit, Despacito.
"Wilhelmina Park was turned in an outdoor club, with locals and international performing artists. Downtown definitely (had) a Pride vibe and a lot of people came to support or see how to celebrate diversity," Regina said.
The Friday night festivities were held in the lobby of the Floris Suite Hotel with a six-hour Rainbow Lounge XL Happy Hour, with food, drinks, dancing and performers. Several DJs brought the beats and Morris performed again.
"I have never seen the Rainbow Lounge Happy Hour as full as during this Pride event. There was positive energy throughout, which felt contagious. Everyone was happy dancing and enjoying the evening," Regina said.
The 2019 Curacao Pride attracted more foreign visitors than past years, along with many repeat attendees, Regina confirmed. Plus, local support was very visible: "A lot of local companies altered their logo for Pride Week, (adding a rainbow) and also posting messages on social media supporting diversity," Regina said.
With several thousand at the various Curacao Pride events, there were more than 500 foreign visitors from all over the world, Regina said. Attendees came to Curacao from Canada, Germany, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Aruba, Jamaica, Bonaire, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, France, South Africa and elsewhere. The U.S. was represented by attendees from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Boston and Los Angeles, among other cities.
The Saturday night festivities featured a White Party that kept dancers going until past 3 a.m., and then many lingered in, or around, the Floris Suite Hotel pool and outdoor Jacuzzi. More than 500 attended.
The Sunday festivities were sun-soaked as the traditional Navigaytion Boat Party was expanded to a second catamaran – and both sold-out. The 5-hour boat party is a skin-filled favorite every year.
Sunday night wrapped with Sip & Sing, a karaoke event that also included many lounging in the Floris Suite Hotel pool.
"I am very proud of Curacao Pride 2019, (working with) Frank Holtslag and Marlous Vlasblom-Molendijk," Regina said.
The 8th Curacao Pride is set for this Sept. 22-27, with parties and activities, local and international artists for the LGBTQ community and their friends. The highlights of the 2020 Curaçao Pride again will be the Pride Walk, Pride Happy Hours, White Party and Boat Party.
"There is always room for improvement, if things need to be changed," Regina said.
And that will start with the popular, gay-friendly Floris Suite Hotel which, it was announced in February, will undergo a complete renovation, starting in mid-April.
At the end of the summer, the hotel will reopen as a part of AM Resorts; DREAMS PREFFERED 5-star Adults-only All-inclusive Resort & Spa.