When I came out of the closet in 2002 it was a horribly lonely time for me. I didn't know anyone that was gay and at that point all my friends had turned their backs to me. I felt lost and didn't even know where to begin to make new friends that would accept me for who I was. Luckily, one night, I stumbled onto Pandora Events online and all of a sudden I had a direct link into the heart of the South Florida Lesbian Community.
Every month there was a new party to go to, new people to meet, and places where I could go and feel comfortable with whom I was. Pandora Events provided acceptance in a time when all I felt was rejection. That was a decade ago and today Pandora Events is such a dynamic force that there isn't a Lesbian in our community that hasn't at some point in time attended an event hosted by them. These ladies definitely fall within the category of people who've supplied the pulse to our throbbing community.
Earlier this week I interviewed Yesi Olivera-Leon, one of the co-founders of Pandora Events, to get a feel for who the people were behind the name. She explained that the idea for Pandora Events was born in the late 1990's out of frustration with the lack of Lesbian parties in South Florida. Yesi had experience organizing raves and together with Amy Alonso they began organizing Pandora events and called their events Pandora. These events later became "La Descarga", the all too familiar monthly Lesbian themed party which is a staple of our community today. Somewhere along the line, as these parties began generating buzz, they joined forces with Alison Burgos creator of Aqua Girl and together these ladies have organized fabulous events such as Girls In Wonderland in Orlando, Aqua Girl in Miami Beach, the Women’s White Party in Miami, the official women’s events for Atlanta Pride, Shedonism Las Vegas, Winter Party, Miami Beach Pride as well as, local weekly and monthly themed parties from Miami to the Palm Beaches.
Their parties are always filled with great entertainers, some veteran faces from our community and some up-and-coming new artist that all add to the experience of the night. We discussed how much the Lesbian community in South Florida has evolved and changed over the years and how, as a company, they've also had to change and evolve to keep up with the community.
"It isn't only about doing parties now, we had to grow and expand the events to attract woman of all ages, regardless of their relationship status. That's why for the White Party, for example, we have different types of events all week so that everyone can attend something they like and all of our events go to benefit one of the GLBT organizations," Yesi explained.
Very few times in life do people get to do something so spectacular that affects the lives of so many. These ladies have molded the shape of our community, created an environment that celebrated and embraced everyone, and did so by doing something that they absolutely love. If that isn't a dream come true, I don't know what is. We should all be so lucky.
What's next in store for Pandora Events? They are expanding nationally and hosting parties across the country. This year they will be hosting Shedonism during Las Vegas Pride from September 6-9, 2012 and closer to home we have the following events to look forward to Aqua Girl May 2-6, 2012 and then Girls in Wonderland May 31 – June 3, 2012.
So you know what you have to do now, get all dolled up and get ready to party because it’s going to be one long hot summer with Pandora Events.