Key West Pride: A Colorful Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of 1.25-Mile-Long Rainbow Flag

The Key West Pride Parade in Florida celebrated the 20th anniversary of the unfurling of a 1.25-mile-long rainbow flag, which had been displayed along the city's Duval Street from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean during Pride 2003. Marking this significant milestone, the pride festivities incorporated a three-night light show projected by a laser array, turning the sky above Duval Street into a magnificent display of colors. The event took place over the course of Sunday afternoon, ending late into the night.

The History of the Flag

The milestone flag, which remains the world's longest rainbow banner, was created two decades ago in Key West by artist Gilbert Baker, who initially designed the iconic rainbow flag in 1978. This flag continues to serve as an international symbol for the LGBTQ community.

  • Back in 2003, the colossal flag - showcasing Baker's original eight colors - was revealed to the world in an impressive feat.
  • Thousands of volunteers unfurled the 1.25-mile-long flag along the length of Duval Street, culminating in a dramatic sea-to-sea display of diversity and pride.

The flag's creation was a testament to the values of diversity, inclusion, and the freedom of self-expression. Fritzie Estimond from the Key West Business Guild, the organizer of the 2023 Pride festivities, acknowledged the significance of the flag and its original creator, Gilbert Baker.

Celebrating 20 Years of Pride

This year's Pride Parade bore witness to a cherished fragment of this remarkable flag. A 100-foot-long section of Baker’s flag, carefully preserved over the years, led the procession through downtown Key West.

Accompanying the iconic flag section was an open-invitation procession featuring:

  • Decorated floats and vehicles, bringing color and joy to the city streets.
  • An array of colorful walking groups, which even included a playful "herd" of 14 unicorns.

The Key West Business Guild presented the Pride events, which began on June 7th. Celebrations spanned several days and included a variety of happenings:

  • Dance parties, adding a vibrant energy to the event.
  • Sunset sailing excursions, providing serene moments amid the festivities.
  • Theatre productions, showcasing the artistic talent within the community.
  • A street fair, bringing together the local community in a festive spirit.

The 20th anniversary of the 1.25-mile-long rainbow flag's debut served as a colorful reminder of the values that Pride represents, renewing the commitment to diversity, inclusion, and self-expression that the LGBTQ community and its allies champion worldwide.