Group asks Fernandina Beach commissioners to move pride festival, parade away from city park

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – A group in Nassau County is asking Fernandina Beach commissioners to move Fernandina Beach Pride, an LGBTQ+ event scheduled for next month, to another location.

The controversial issue came up Tuesday night at a commission meeting during public comment.

The group making the push, Citizens Defending Freedom-Nassau, said the events violate city and state laws designed to protect children, the Fernandina Observer reported, and want to limit or rescind the permit for the June 10 event at Central Park near downtown.

According to Jack Knocke, who leads Nassau County’s chapter of Citizens Defending Freedom, he is working to keep adult content away from children.

“What we are trying to do is maintain certain protected zones for children,” Knocke said during the meeting Tuesday night, noting that a drag queen was at last year’s festival. “I am not saying don’t have the festival I am saying don’t have it at a city park.”

Knocke said the event should happen in a commercial zone.

Dozens of people spoke out on both sides of the issue Tuesday night, with many supporting keeping the festival in place.

“It’s my wish that you, members of the commission, never act on what I think are irrational fears people have in terms of their children and gay people because I want to continue to live in this city and be proud to be here,” Doug Embrey said.

The issue was not an agenda item and as of 9 p.m., no decision about the future of the parade has been made by city officials.

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