Wednesday August 3, 2022
During the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic when there were no vaccines, and masking and social distancing was enforced (even in Florida), Pride marches and festivites were cancelled around the world. One of the few pluses was FLoatarama. A group of gay guys spontaneously figured out that an only-in-Fort Lauderdale Pride event could be safely held on the rivers, canals and Intracoastal!
Fort Lauderdale, known as the “Venice of America” with 300 miles of waterways and canals, birthed FLoatarama in the middle of the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. With 20 private vessels and minimal crew and passangers, the totally outdoor flotilla Pride parade was a breath of fresh air during dark times.
In 2021, Dean Trantalis, the gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale, was the grand marshal leading the 34-boat parade in the Water Taxi excursion boat along with 100 other donor VIPs. Over $17,000 in proceeds went to Pride Fort Lauderdale’s GED/Scholarship Fund.
2022 marked FLoatarama’s third year with a maximum allowed 40 vessels including two soldout Water Taxi VIP excursion boats leading the June parade. The BB Team joined with VIP friends and had a fabulous time with plenty of floating eye candy! We boarded on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale in almost unbearable sun, heat and humidity. Thank you Tom of Finland Organic Vodka for donating unlimited refreshments!
The flotilla weaved its way to the Intracoastal ending up north near Oakland Park Blvd and the Marriott Residence Inn Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal/Il Lugano. The last 20 minutes of the parade was under heavy thunderstorm, but that did little to dampen the spirits at The Sailor’s Dance & Pool Party. The Marriott indoor/outdoor party was a huge hit, with San Francisco DJ Matt Consola keeping the crowd going.
Thanks to 14 “corporate” sponsors, 50 Founders Club individuals and two boatloads of VIPs, 100% of ticket sales for 2022 went to a new 501(c)3 non-profit, FLoatarama LGBTQ Youth Fund. The fund was established in partnership with Our Fund Foundation. What a unique way to celebrate Pride! If you want to contribute, go to FLoatarama‘s website, and please let them know you found FLoatarama via BottomBasics.com!
We did it for fun, and were blown away by the number of boats that participated, the enthusiasm, and the great press coverage. We realized we’d stumbled onto something, and the encouragement we received from the community was heartwarming.
FLoatarama Rainbow Twink Boys. Fort Lauderdale, FL. 2022. Featured image courtesy of Plaintruthiness Photography | Flickr | © All Rights Reserved
Rainbow Boys Trio, VIP Rave Bunny, Flotilla at Drawbridge, G21 Fitness Yacht, Three Men on VIP boat, Waving at Small Boat, Merman and Shirtless Sailor, Sailor’s Dance and Pool Party, Tom of Finland Organic Vodka Male Models. All images from Floatarama, Fort Lauderdale, FL. 2022. Images courtesy of Plaintruthiness Photography | Flickr | © All Rights Reserved