FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – "It only took us 50 years." That's how Fernandina Beach Mayor Johnny Miller summed it up Saturday as he welcomed hundreds to the first Fernandina Beach Pride Parade and Festival.
"I have never been prouder than I am of my community than I am today. I love you all, and I love that you can love whoever the hell you want in my city. Bless your heart," Miller said.
A speaker at the event exclaimed that we are all the same.
People from all walks of life throughout Northeast Florida came together to celebrate pride with little to no opposition in sight.
This inaugural Pride Festival was sparked after the mayor flew a pride flag outside City Hall last year, causing controversy. The flag eventually came down, but the community came together to form this year’s festival.
The event comes as a human rights ordinance moves through Fernandina Beach City Hall. A second reading of the ordinance, which would prohibit discriminatory conduct in employment and housing based on race, religion, gender, disability and sexual orientation, passed unanimously. There will be a final reading on the ordinance in July.
On Sunday morning, there will be a special multifaith worship service at 8:30 a.m at the gazebo at Main Beach.