St. Pete Shows Its Pride
St. Pete is the site of the state’s largest Pride parade. It’s also the only nighttime parade. It’s just one of Pride Weekend events.
ST. PETERSBURG – This city’s celebration of the LGBT community holds a special significance coming as it does on the heels of the June 12 shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
“No single act of hate can detour us from coming together as a community,” said Eric Skains, executive director of St Pete Pride. “Pride and unity is more important now than ever before. From the Stonewall Inn in New York and the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans to the now Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, acts of violence at LGBTQ+ welcoming establishments has been part of our dark history. Each time our community has come together and silenced the voices of hate.”
Skains, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and St. Petersburg police Chief Anthony Holloway say safety is a prime concern. Kriseman and Holloway held a press conference last week to assure residents and Pride-goers that events will go on despite the Orlando shootings that killed 49 and injured 53 others. Holloway said security will be stepped up and law enforcement personnel from other agencies, including the Pinellas County Sheriff, FBI and Homeland Security, will be in the crowd.
Pride weekend officially begins at 10 a.m. Thursday (June 23) when Kriseman raises the Pride flag at City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N. At 7 p.m. Friday (June 25), the SP2 concert featuring Deborah Cox will start the festivities. The event is free. A pit pass is $20. The event is a fundraiser to benefit various Tampa Bay community organizations. Beverage sales benefit the St. Pete Pride Community Grants Program. It will take place at 2600 Central Ave.
The Pride Parade is Saturday (June 26). The LGBT Pride Parade, held within the Historic Kenwood neighborhood and Grand Central District, features more than 150 organizations and businesses and more than 4,500 marchers supporting and celebrating the Tampa Bay LGBT community. The parade draws more than 200,000 people in total, making it the large LGBT Pride Parade in Florida and largest overall in St Petersburg. The Saturday block party begins at 5 p.m., held between 22nd Street and 27th Street along Central Avenue, featuring DJs, food and beverages. The parade will roll off at sunset.
Sunday is set aside for the Pride Street Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Grand Central District, 2800 – 2200 Central Ave. After last year’s overwhelming demand, the festival length has been extended by an entire city block, and the St Pete Pride Street Festival will be more diverse than ever. More than 350 exhibitors will line both sides of Central Avenue for six city blocks in a rainbow celebration of food and beverage vendors, artists, small businesses, corporations, professional sports teams, community outreach groups, non-profit organizations and Pride-themed merchandisers.
For information about Pride Weekend and St. Pete Pride, go to stpetepride.com.
Photo of the raising of the Pride flag courtesy of the city of St. Petersburg. Photos of Kriseman and Holloway press conference courtesy of Pinellas photographer Debbie Wolfe.
St Pete Pride | Pride Fest | Pride Parade | Orlando Pulse | TB Reporter
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