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Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade draws record-breaker crowd

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A record-breaking 100,000 people turned out for the 6th Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade, which is even more than the number of residents living here, organizers say.

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The parade was also the longest in the parade's history, encompassing more than 100 parade contingencies, 35 colorful floats and 2,000 participants, Pride Board Chairman Joel Stedman said today.

Grand marshals Gloria Estefan and TV Producer Kenny Ortega led off Sunday's parade, which followed along the community's famous Ocean Drive, a route marked by balloons, marching bands, and cheerleaders, tossing out beads, fans, and merchandise coupons.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, along with members of the Miami Beach City Commission, were among the notables on hand. Emcees Roxanne Vargas, of NBC6 and Tiffany Fantasia, Miss Miami Beach Gay Pride 2013 provided color commentary.

Celebrity judges for the "Best Float" award were Broadway Producer Richard-Jay Alexander, WSVN anchor Craig Stevens and WPLG anchor Carlos Suarez.

The parade was followed by an all-day festival featuring entertainers including legendary drag diva Elaine Lancaster, DJ's Alex Infinity and Lady Bunny, along with gender illusionist Kevin Aviance and rapper Cazell, culminating with "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant Courtney Act who performed live. Singer Jei was among the entertainers on the Latin Stage.

The event has grown in six years from the 15,000 who turned out in 2009 to the 100,000 visitors to the latest parade, a crowd that included local residents, but also pulled in tourists from throughout South Florida and visitors from around the world.

More info: Miami Beach Gay Pride

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