During Key West’s 2003 PrideFest festivities, a 1.25-mile rainbow flag sewn by Gilbert Baker, the creator of the original rainbow flag, was unfurled to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original banner’s debut. The original flag was created at the request of Mr. Bakers good friend, the late Harvey Milk. Mr. Milk asked Gilbert to create something bright to replace the pink triangle which was a symbol of ‘gays’ for many years.
The Key West flag was created over three months and included more than 18,000 yards of nylon fabric, 25 miles of seams, and was created in 100 foot and 250 foot sections seamed together. It weighed more than three tons.
Absolut vodka responded to a request for support in creating this commemorative flag and supported it with a $250,000USD donation. Today they wrap their vodka in rainbow colors for the pride season.
Supported by approximately 2,000 volunteers of widely varying ages, ethnicities and sexual orientations, the world’s longest rainbow flag was carried the entire length of Key West’s Duval Street from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean in a sea-to-sea showing of openness and pride. After the unfurling, the flag was dipped simultaneously in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
The Key West flag re-created Baker’s original eight-color design. Pink and turquoise, which couldn’t be reproduced commercially in 1978, were represented in the sea-to-sea banner along with the now-traditional red, orange, yellow, green, indigo and violet.
Since then, sections of Baker’s Key West flag continue to spread a message of joyful acceptance during pride festivities and other events around the world. Sections of the flag have been featured at PrideFest celebrations in Manchester, England; Vancouver, Toronto, and Whistler, Canada; Koln, Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; Los Angeles, San Diego and West Hollywood, Calif.; Orlando, Saint Augustine, Palm Beach and Miami Beach Fla.; Fairbanks, Alaska; Park City, Utah during Sundance, Dallas and Houston, Texas; New York City; Atlanta, Ga.; and New Hope, Pa. Key West continues to join the many destinations who have displayed a piece of the Key West Rainbow Flag.
PRIDE house Whistler is proud to have two sections of this historical flag at the pavilion.