Security for Palm Beach Pride increased as record crowd expected

Pride makes its way to downtown Lake Worth Beach this weekend
Posted at 11:09 PM, Mar 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-25 06:24:10-04

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — The final details were set up Friday at Bryant Park as Palm Beach Pride kicks off Saturday, Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center's biggest event of the year.

"I just think it's a good time for the community, in general, to be together and be one community together, regardless of what you stand for and what you look like," said Mar Rivera, who is a staff member at Compass.

Rivera said he started his journey as a youth with the Center, and now 10 years later, he's paying it forward.

"I'm giving back to the community that embraced me," said Rivera.

Staff with Compass said safety is top of mind as they predict more than 30,000 people will show up to celebrate over the weekend.

Michael Riordan said they have a record number of pre-sale tickets sold and a record number of sponsors for the event.

Riordan said it's in response to the community wanting to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community.

"We enjoy the rights that others fought for, and now it's our turn to fight for the rights of those who will come after us," said Riordan. "I know it's scary and can be intense, but we're going to make it through this as we did before."

This comes as the LGBTQ+ community claim their rights are under attack.

A fence surrounding Bryant Park will only have one entry point and two exits where the vendors and performers will be located.

At the gate, security will detect metal with wands and check bags.

Only small backpacks, fanny packs and purses will be allowed inside.

"I'm anxious because I've never been around that many people my whole life," said Midley Sylin, who said Palm Beach Pride will be her first Pride event ever and has safety concerns. "I want to see more police officers, so everybody knows they're safe."

Staff with Compass said they have increased security for Palm Beach Pride, which will be monitoring the festival and parade route throughout the weekend.

"I just want everybody to be safe, and hopefully, nobody gets violent so everybody can enjoy it," said Sylin.

Pride festivities are Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. at Bryant Park in downtown Lake Worth Beach.

The Pride Parade starts at 11 a.m. Sunday along Lake Avenue.

Tickets are sold online and at the gate.