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6th Annual Naples Pride Fest attracts thousands of visitors

The event celebrated the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Month
Posted at 6:17 PM, Jun 08, 2024

NAPLES, Fla. — The Naples Pride Center hosted its Annual Pride Fest event Saturday at Cambier Park.

Organizers said thousands of people came throughout the day.

“This is an inclusive community," said Naples Pride Board of Directors member Callhan Soldavini. "Southwest Florida and Naples and Collier County is a place where there is love and community and acceptance.”

It's the center's biggest fundraiser of the year. General admission costs $10. Children under 12 were free.

"What we’re able to raise here really determines how big of a year we have the next year," Soldavini said.

It started out as a grassroots organization.

“We’ve just now been able to hire our first staff members in the last couple of years," Soldavini said.

Now, it's a staple in the local LGBTQ+ community.

“We’re really proud of how much we’ve grown from just a couple of people sitting in a room planning the first pride festival almost 10 years ago to what the organization is now," Soldavini said.

The organization offers mental health services, testing and treatment services, and several other resources.

The public could stop by vendors, watch live entertainment, and learn about key issues involving the LGBTQ+ community.

FOX 4's Victoria Scott spoke to small business owners at the festival to learn why it's so special to them.

"I love being here," said Luci Bromberg. "I'm old, so it feels like being at Woodstock. Everybody here is happy. Everybody here is free. There are bubbles and colors."

Hundreds of volunteers showed their support too.

“You want to make sure that as a community of Naples, everyone feels represented," Naples Pride Fest volunteer Kevin Buchanan said. "Everyone gets an opening to different backgrounds and are able to learn, no matter what age or background they’re from. They're able to be together and have fun.”

The festival wrapped up around 5 p.m.

The center will host a number of other events throughout Pride Month.

You can click on this link for more information.