Over the course of living and working in Pensacola, several IN staffers have heard a few curious stories about Memorial Day weekend. While preparing this issue, a few of those questions have been answered, but a few more have surfaced, too. If you have any tips, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haters Dumping Nails on the Road to the Beach
Confirmed multiple times over. First occurred in the early 1990s, some say roofing nails were dumped on the road near Park East as recently as four years ago. SRIA’s Buck Lee says he hasn’t heard of nails dropping over the past eight years.
Blow Up Dolls in the Sky
Still Undocumented. David Dondero, who lived in Pensacola in the late ‘90s and has since been named one of the greatest living songwriters by NPR, told a story during a local show that stuck with a few IN employees. During Memorial Day weekend festivities in 1996 or 1997, or so the story goes, someone had helium-filled blow up dolls in a convertible, and the dolls escaped, floating into the sky. Allegedly, someone called the police to report the Rapture was underway. No one at the IN has gone through police reports to verify the call, but this is a great story whether it is true or not.
Navarre Was a Nude Beach?
Every beach is probably a nude beach from time to time, especially if tequila is involved, but there is no evidence to suggest beach nudity was ever legal in Navarre. Google searches indicate that due to its remote location, the strip of Gulf Islands National Seashore between Pensacola Beach and Navarre is a rumored favorite for nudists year round. Nudist colonies in Pace and Milton provide the only sanctioned birthday suit venues in the area.
The Stamped Money Brought Secret Service A’ Calling
While it is well known that cash has been stamped with the words “Gay Money,” pink triangles, or combinations of both, one local remembered hearing a story that the Secret Service paid a visit to a local LGBT Pride shop that allegedly had stamps next to the cash register. This story, and the implication that the law about defacing currency is ever enforced, may come as a shock to those of us who wrote our names on bills in middle school, or last weekend at McGuire’s.
Not specifically related to Memorial Day weekend, but, yes for a few years in the early 2000s, Pensacola was home to the Gay and Lesbian Bank, or G&L, which closed in 2002.
Memorial Day Weekend is a Local Gay Pride Event
No. Doug Landreth, President of Gay Grassroots of Northwest Florida, the organization that organizes Pensacola PRIDE in June, says that while Memorial Day is “a fantastic weekend of fun and frolic” and “an economic boon for the economy,” the beach events and circuit parties don’t benefit the local LGBT community, which is the goal of a Pride festival. Pensacola PRIDE is a week of family-friendly events, said Landreth, which aim to bring community members of all walks of life together, while Memorial Day weekend is a party. For additional info about Pensacola PRIDE, visit ggnwfl.com.
Pensacola Officials Still Think Homosexuality and “Family Values” are Mutually Exclusive
True, at least of the Board of County Commissioners as of 2012. Last June, Mayor Ashton Hayward took a historic step in signing a proclamation on June 12 that declared June 10-17 as Pensacola Pride Festival Week and urged all citizens to “celebrate the diversity, humanity, and equal rights for our entire community.” Two weeks later, the BOCC ratified a proclamation “urging citizens of Escambia County to join with Florida Family Action in declaring Escambia County a place committed to the propagation of traditional family values that promotes virtues and values that give children and their families a first class quality of life.” The language was much like that of a 1993 City Council proclamation, except for the mention of Florida Family Action, the lobbying arm of the Florida Family Policy Council, whose slogan is “Fighting for Life, Family, Marriage and Liberty.”