Central Florida, Tampa Bay pick their LGBTQ favorites in the Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these were a few of Julie Andrews’ favorite things.

The Center and Pom Pom’s and Out of the Closet. Metro and Cocktail and Mayor Jane Castor. These were a few of Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s favorite things this year in the Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence, or simply called the WAVES.

For those new to the WAVES, each year we ask our loyal readers to let us know who their favorites are in Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ communities. After a nomination round, we then presented your top five responses and then asked you to give us the top three in each of the 60 categories.

The categories cover a lot of different areas of our community; activism, business, entertainment, politics and more. We asked for your favorite hangouts, safe spaces, local hidden gems and even your favorite treat, and you did not disappoint.

After thousands of votes were tallied up, we now present to you in the following pages all the winners, as well as a few number one favorites that we chose to highlight. In the process of selecting your favorites, we also asked a few questions about what you will miss the most from last year, what you were most excited to see return after the pandemic and what events — both public and personal — helped to define what 2022 meant to you.

So, let’s get to it. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated, those who made it into the top three and to those who came out on top. And a special thank you to all you readers who voted and helped to show them all the love they deserve.


Central Florida 2023 WAVE winners

Central Florida 2023 WAVE Award Spotlights:

Nancy Alvarez, WESH 2

Loc Robertson (April Fresh)

Orlando Science Center


Central Florida’s 2023 returns, losses and defining moments

PHOTOS: Watermark celebrates its Central Florida WAVE winners


Tampa Bay WAVE winners

Tampa Bay’s 2023 WAVE Award Spotlights:

Adriana Sparkle

Apollo Infiniti

“The Big Gay Radio Show,” 88.5 WMNF

CampOUT LGBTQ+ Youth Summer Camp

Tampa Bay’s 2023 returns, losses and defining moments

PHOTOS: Watermark celebrates its Tampa Bay WAVE winners

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