Girls in Wonderland is arguably one of the world’s largest lesbian gatherings, taking place this year from June 1 to 5 in Orlando, Florida. Now 17 years in the running, it attracts thousands of lesbians each year who partake in the festivities to celebrate the LGBT community.
The event was founded by Pandora Events, a powerhouse promotions team consisting of Alison Burgos, Amy Alonso, and Yesenia Leon. Each year, GIW hosts a series of exciting entertainment acts, pool parties, comedy shows and after-parties. It’s considered a central destination for lesbians in North America and boasts visitors from all over the world. For many, the signature show at the House of Blues is the ultimate celebration of the LGBT community. Here are five reasons why you won’t want to miss GIW this year.
Girls in Wonderland is a celebration of life and the LGBT community in the wake of Pulse
As the one-year anniversary of the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting approaches, the Girls in Wonderland event will honouring and celebrate the memories of everyone who was affected by the shooting. The tragedy didn’t just shake the gay community in Orlando, it shook the entire world.
“This year, the most important thing we want to do is to honour and celebrate the community,” says Alison Burgos, founder of Pandora Events. There will be several Pulse survivors attending the event and proceeds from the signature House of Blues performance will go to The Center Orlando, an LGBT centre that offers counseling programs for the Orlando community.”
Pulse owner Barbara Poma and former entertainment manager Neema Bahrami will be present at GIW this year alongside survivors. In May 2017, Poma announced that Pulse would remain as a permanent memorial and museum to commemorate the people who lost their lives in one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history.
Stephanie Rice from the Voice headlines the House of Blues event
The daughter of a pastor, Stephanie Rice began her musical journey in grade school by performing alongside her mother in church. When her parents found love letters she had written to girls, they disowned her at the age of 18.
This year, she told her story to the world as a contestant on the hit NBC show, The Voice. Now engaged, Rice has become an inspiration for the lesbian community. “Stephanie Rice is a real powerhouse and has such a courageous story,” Burgos says. “Her history and her strength just made her so compelling and powerful that we really wanted to have her on board this year.”
Stephanie Rice will be performing at the House of Blues with Madison Page, who also played last year. “Everyone fell in love with Madison,” Burgos says. “Her charm touches everyone.”
Pumps vs pants — the ultimate way to throw a pool party
Hosted by the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista resort, GIW puts on daytime pool parties with some of the hottest lesbian DJs to get the summer vibes going. This year will feature a special ’90s-themed pool party to celebrate all those great throwback tunes.
Dykes with Mics comedy show
Queer icons Jen Kober and Nikki Levy will be performing a live comedy show called “Don’t Tell my Mother” — an anthology of true stories and personal accounts they’d never want their mothers to know. The show initially began in Los Angeles in 2011 but has since picked up in popularity after being covered by the Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post.
AM after Hours, Afterglow and Rabbit Hole
The party never stops! From 2–5am, the party continues back at the hotel with guest DJ Nela, DJ ZEHNO and DVWEZ throwing down the best in today’s house music in the Bud Light Disco. Complimentary shuttle service is available for safe transportation of all guests.