Celebrating Two Decades of the Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag at Key West Pride 2023
May 08, 2023 • KW Concierge
The globally recognized Key West Pride event is scheduled to take place from Wednesday through Sunday, June 7-11, 2023. This year, the festival marks the 20th "birthday" of Key West's iconic 1.25-mile sea-to-sea rainbow flag. The Key West Business Guild will present a three-night laser light show to celebrate this landmark occasion and to honor the Florida Keys' unifying "One Human Family" ideology. Known as a top LGBTQ vacation spot, Key West's subtropical island is ready to embrace diversity with open arms.
Key Highlights and Events
Key West Pride 2023 offers a variety of attractions and activities, including:
- Daytime pool parties and late-night dance parties
- Sunset sailing excursions
- Theater performances
- A Pride street fair
- A high-energy parade
All these events are organized to commemorate the creation and display of the world-renowned sea-to-sea flag.
The History of the Flag
The sea-to-sea rainbow flag, crafted in 2003 by Gilbert Baker, the creator of the original rainbow flag that serves as an international symbol of the LGBTQ community, is believed to be the world's longest. He collaborated with a team of volunteers to construct the 1.25-mile-long rainbow flag. During the Pride event of that year, volunteers unveiled the flag, stretching it from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean along Duval Street in a grand display of openness and pride.
The opening activities of the festival on Wednesday, June 7, comprise a luncheon featuring presentations about the creation of Baker's Key West flag. An evening kick-off party will showcase a 100-foot section of the famous banner, scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Café, located at 313 Duval St.
The Main Highlight
The primary highlight of Pride 2023 will be a three-night laser light show that reproduces the flag over Key West's Duval Street. Visitors will be able to walk "under the rainbow" from 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to show their support for diversity, equality, and acceptance.
Additional events to look forward to:
- A local bartender competition at the Bourbon St. Pub, 724 Duval St.
- An outdoor screening of the documentary “Key West: City of Colors” in the 800 block of Duval Street
- An all-day street fair on Saturday, followed by a disco party and dancing on Duval
- The Big Gay 5k challenge for fitness enthusiasts
- A traditional tea dance at La Te Da, 1125 Duval St.
On Sunday, June 11, a 100-foot section of Baker’s 2003 flag will feature prominently in the 2023 Pride Parade through Key West’s historic downtown, starting at 5 p.m. Spectators can watch the procession, complete with colorful walking groups and extravagantly decorated floats, from the street or local clubs, bars, and restaurants along the route.
Pride's closing ceremony will follow the parade at the intersection of Duval and Petronia streets — the location of Key West’s permanent four-way rainbow crosswalk. This momentous event will be capped off by the final night of the sea-to-sea laser light show.
Event information and complete schedule: gaykeywestfl.com/pride/