Summer is here on the island of Key West, and while at one time it was a slower period, that’s no longer the case. It’s true that our theaters end their “season,” but they continue to offer special performances.

Michael Walters as Dame Edna

Don’t miss the supremely talented Michael Walters as Dame Edna at the Waterfront Playhouse.

Prime among those special attractions is “Purple Reign: A Loving Musical Parody of the Diva from Down Under!” (Australia, for those who aren’t her “possums”). Dame Edna, portrayed by actor and vocalist Michael Walters, comes to the stage at the historic Waterfront Playhouse Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13. In celebration of Key West Pride, Michael struts his stuff with glittering gowns, outrageous comedy and original musical numbers — culminating in a flurry of Dame Edna’s signature gladioli.

Michael’s Dame Edna has been hailed as “spectacular” by Dame Edna’s original creator, Barry Humphries. In addition, Emmy Award-winning actor Leslie Jordan calls him “one of the most talented men I know.” Be sure to reserve your seats for one of his performances, as I’m certain they’ll sell out fast.

Pride week begins Wednesday, June 10, with three great events. First, be on Duval Street in the afternoon to see the unveiling of permanent rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Duval and Petronia Streets, the heart of Key West’s LGBT entertainment district. Co-sponsored by the City of Key West and the Key West Business Guild, the rainbow crosswalks are to be imprinted on the pavement connecting all four corners of the intersection.

Key West Pride kickoff Jai Rodriguez

Blogger Steve Smith (top row left) and his husband Paul (bottom row center) are surrounded by friends — including “Queer Eye’s” Jai Rodriguez (bottom row right) — at the 2014 Pride kickoff party. (Photo by Peter Arnow)

Then head to the week’s kickoff festivities at the Island House. A $20 donation secures you a spot to meet the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic finalists from 14 cities across North America. Attractions at the resort’s party include champagne, an open well bar, and passed hors d’oeuvres.

Finally, get ready for competition at the famed 801 Bourbon Bar, 801 Duval St., during the Ms. Pride contest. This annual contest celebrates the women of Pride, and locals and visitors are invited to enter.

Thursday brings the annual Miss Pride competition at the 801 where our “local girls” will compete at 8 p.m. for the title — and Friday the Bourbon St. Pub complex hosts the Mr. Pride contest at the Garden Bar. Each year under the stars and the giant mango tree, contestants are judged on appearance, talent, and overall presence and vie for the title and $1,000 in cash and prizes.

rainbow flag Key West Pride parade

A section of Key West’s famed rainbow flag is displayed each year in the island’s Pride parade. (Photo by Peter Arnow)

Have you ever wanted to be part of a parade? Dress up with your friends and walk in a group, or decorate bicycles or your car, for Key West’s lively Pride parade that takes place Sunday, June 14. The lineup begins at 3 p.m. at the Truman Annex across from the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center. The parade steps off at 5 p.m. sharp on a route across Key West from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. FYI, participants’ registration and details need to be completed in advance and received by the Key West Business Guild by June 5.

Check the Pride website for other events including Alexander’s Guesthouse Pride Beach Party from noon until 4 p.m. Friday with volleyball, music, libations, sun and great fun.

I’ll see you at Key West Pride!

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