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Memorial Day Weekend

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Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday in May as part of the [[Wikipedia:Uniform Holidays Bill|Uniform Holidays Bill]] of [[1968]]. The Monday closure of schools and many workplaces created a three-day weekend during which many Americans travel and take vacations. For beach communities like [[Pensacola Beach]], Memorial Day Weekend effectively marks the beginning of the summer tourism season.
Since the mid-1980s, a number of gay and lesbian organizations in the South have gathered in Pensacola during Memorial Day Weekend for parties and other events, known collectively as the "'''Our Pride'''" weekend. Promoter [[Johnny Chisholm]] has organized many of these circuit parties since [[1993]], when festivities were located in the [[Pensacola Civic Center]].<ref>[ Gays Flock to Fla. Panhandle for Holiday]. Associated Press, May 27, 2007.</ref> In 1993, after a [[WEAR-TV]] broadcast touted Our Pride weekends as proof Pensacola was "one of the nation's few gay-friendly communities," [[Pensacola City Council|City Councilman]] [[Doug Proffitt]] wrote a letter (on city stationery) claiming to speak for "all God-loving people" in repudiating the label. The Council did not take an official position, but [[Pensacola Mayor|Mayor]] [[Jerry Maygarden]] said he agreed with Proffitt that "this community does not want to be known as the gay capital of the South," and State Representative [[James Kerrigan]] said Proffitt was "right on target."<ref>"Officials: Don't label city pro-gay." ''Sarasota Herald-Tribune''. May 22, 1993.</ref>
In [[2004]], the gay and lesbian events drew as many as 60,000 visitors per year. Later that year, [[Hurricane Ivan]] damaged the businesses and infrastructure on Pensacola Beach, causing a tourism decline in subsequent years, but by [[2007]] an estimated 50,000 tourists arrived for Memorial Day Weekend.<ref>"Hotels filling fast for holiday weekend." ''Pensacola News Journal'', May 24, 2007.</ref>

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