My career has been a journey of exploration, passion and dedication, and I am thrilled to be making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community through my work with Gay Days Inc.
Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?
My name is Joseph Clark, and I grew up in a small town in Upstate NY called Fulton. I was the second child among four boys, and my parents worked hard to make ends meet—my mother as a diner server and my father as a carpenter. From a young age, I was deeply involved in my hometown community and developed a passion for helping others through various non-profit groups, where I served both as a member and in leadership roles
One of my biggest passions is the arts, especially theatre. This love for the performing arts led me to work with several theatre companies, and I even co-founded a children’s theatre company in Syracuse, NY. After completing high school, I pursued higher education at Oswego State University, studying business administration. However, I soon realized that college wasn’t the right path for me, and I decided to follow my interests in the food and beverage industry.
In 2008, I made the move to Orlando, Florida, where I continued my career in food and beverage. Through dedication and hard work, I climbed the ranks and eventually earned the position of a restaurant manager. In 2012 I joined the Levy Restaurants team at Fulton’s Crabhouse (now Paddlefish). It was during this time I also started working with Gay Days, Inc. My involvement with them grew, and I had the opportunity to contribute to various events, including Gay Days Orlando and the inaugural Gay Day Las Vegas event.
In 2021, I became the Complex Food and Beverage Director for four hotels at Flamingo Crossing, located just outside of Disney. Then, in 2022, I decided to transition from the food and beverage industry to take on a new challenge as the CEO and Co-Owner of Gay Days Inc.
My career has been a journey of exploration, passion and dedication, and I am thrilled to be making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community through my work with Gay Days Inc. I look forward to new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead as I continue to grow personally and professionally.
How long have you been living in Orlando and why did you first move here?
I have lived in Orlando since 2008 with two brief moves to Pittsburgh for work, but I have always ended up back in Orlando. I moved here from the city I grew up in which is located in Upstate NY on Lake Ontario. In the city I grew up in it would snow by the foot, not by the inch. I remember thinking to myself that the snow would not stop and would be back year after year so I need to move south! The original plan was to only be in Orlando for one year then travel to a different city from there, but 15 years later I am still here!
What are your favorite places to go for a cocktail or dinner?
One of my favorite places to go for dinner is Hawkers Asian Street Food. I began going to their Mills Ave location and have since been to their location in Windermere. Overall I LOVE food so I am all about trying new places and new foods In Orlando, that is not an issue. As far as cocktails I frequent Savoy Orlando but can also be found at times at Rocco’s Taco’s for their great tequila!
Which cultural attractions are a must see for visitors to Orlando?
I believe that people should experience the art and theatre in Orlando. Whether you attend a performance at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando Shakes or any of the other local theatre companies, or go and visit the Orlando Science Center or a local art fair that is happening and you will really get a great sense of how much culture there is in Orlando.
What are the most exciting annual events in Orlando?
Gay Days Orlando is of course one of the most exciting annual events in Orlando. What I love most about Gay Days is that it creates a safe and inclusive environment where members of the LGBTQ+ community, their friends, families, and allies can unite, celebrate their identities, and revel in the wonder of the theme parks. It is a true showing of community coming together and there is so much to do! Gay Days Orlando has created a legacy of love, supporting the LGBTQ+ community with arms wide open. It is full of epic events, bringing in people from all corners of the globe. It’s a space where hearts intertwine, where memories are made, and where everyone feels the warm embrace of belonging. At Gay Days Orlando, every color of the rainbow is welcome, and they actively champion a world where love knows no boundaries and acceptance knows no limits. And you can attend the event whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally!
Where are the best places to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the area?
I believe that Lake Eola in downtown Orlando is truly a special area. The calmness of walking around while there are people just out enjoying their time and surrounded by the city is something magical.
A friend is coming to Orlando for the first time. Please describe the perfect weekend.
A perfect weekend would be a whirlwind experience. I would ensure that they were able to see the different theme parks (Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld® Orlando) as well as experience downtown Orlando and the beauty of Lake Eola. I would take them to International Drive and walk around showing them the fun that Orlando has to offer! Don’t forget about experiencing the food and drinks and live entertainment that can be found everywhere! If I could fit it in I would probably do an excursion to the beach just to show them that only an hour away, east or west, you can be at the beach.
What locally made product should visitors bring back from Orlando for their friends and family?
I believe people should experience some of the locally made beverages. Our breweries are great and they make delicious beers that should be shared with people! I personally bring some beverages from Crooked Can Brewery up to family when I travel.
Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Orlando without…
Experiencing what Orlando truly has to offer. It really is the City Beautiful and is full of so many things to do that you will never be bored. Look around, walk around, and drive around. There are so many pockets of uniqueness in Orlando that make it is truly a special place.
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Orlando Insider | Joseph Clark, CEO of Gay Days Inc was last modified: August 17th, 2023 by