A group calling itself Hernando Pride is having its first weekend of LGBTQ celebrations two years after the first Pride-related events started in the county.
The Pride group is hosting four events from June 14 to June 16, said John Evola, one of the Pride Week organizers. Events include bowling, brunch and "Gay Bingo," which Evola described as a mix between Bingo and LGBTQ-related trivia.
"We're reaching out to the mainstream. Everyone has a grandpa, everyone has a dad, everyone has an uncle who may be gay, and what a wonderful time to bring them all together at a brunch on Father's Day in downtown Brooksville," he said.
The celebration will start at 6 p.m. Friday with a beach potluck and candlelight vigil on Pine Island to honor LGBTQ people who have died from hate-crimes or AIDS or have been bullied as a child for their identity. Evola said it's a sober event that he hopes will not attract protestors. Pasco County had protestors at its most recent Pride Festival.
"It's going to be a positive image for the gay community in Hernando County," he said.
Hernando County's first Pride events took place at Marker 48 Brewing, a craft beer brewery and tasting room on Cortez Boulevard, in June 2017. It included raffles, a movie night and a drag show.
When organizing the events this year, Evola said he was surprised by how welcoming and willing the county was to help Hernando Pride.
"People have been very open," he said. "We've been met with nothing but respect from Hernando County."
IF YOU GO:
The Hernando Pride Week schedule includes:
• June 14, 6 p.m.: Beach Potluck and Candlelight Vigil at 10800 Pine Island Drive in Weeki Wachee.
• June 15, noon: Bowling with Suncoast LGBT Social and Naturecoast Gay Friends Network at Strike City, 3544 Mariner Blvd. This will be a non-competitive bowling event that is $2.75 per game, plus shoes.
• June 16, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Brunch at Broad Street Market, 4 N. Broad St., Brooksville. It's a $5 cover fee that includes a Hernando magazine and a free mimosa. A special Pride brunch menu will be offered that includes food items priced $8-$22.
• June 16, 4 p.m.: Gay Bingo at Spring Hill United Church of Christ, 4244 Mariner Blvd., Brooksville. To play, the organization asks for a donation.
Contact Paige Fry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @paigexfry.