Don Guardian, Atlantic City’s first openly gay mayor, declared the city’s Park Place Beach as LGBT-friendly on Monday by raising a rainbow flag there. Atlantic City, famed for its boardwalk and gaming, is now tapping into the LGBT market to generate revenue.
The flag-raising event is symbolic of Guardian’s push for the return of AC's gay glory days, which reigned in the 60s, before the casino crowd replaced LGBT travelers. This year, Atlantic City will host three LGBT events: Sand Blast, a three-day beach party weekend in July; the StandOUT Expo, a networking event in September, and the Miss’d America Pageant, a drag equivalent of the famous pageant also be held in September.
Sand Blast, which was held central Jersey's Asbury Park for the last 12 years, has gained enough popularity to require a bigger venue. Brad Hurtado, Sand Blast’s executive producer, says, “We knew things had to change and that led us here to Atlantic City." The event is scheduled for July 18-20 at hotels including the Borgata, Caesars, Chelsea, and the Claridge. StandOut Expo will be held at the Resorts Casino Hotel from September 26-28. The event will feature a networking mixer, and comedy benefit show. Ben Fox, StandOUT organizer, said, "It makes a lot of sense to showcase Atlantic City as a destination choice for the LGBT community nationwide." Read more here.
Atlantic City mayor Don Guardian places rainbow flag at Park Place beach to designate official gay beach. pic.twitter.com/ceEVCRxf32
— Amy S. Rosenberg (@amysrosenberg) June 16, 2014