Where might you expect to find the largest Pride celebration in Florida? You may be surprised to learn that it's not in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or even Orlando. Rather, Gay Pride St. Petersburg, known as "Pride Carnivale," throws the Sunshine State's biggest Pride event. What began less than a decade ago with a modest tally of some 13,000 attendees has blossomed into a major festival, now drawing in excess of 80,000 participants and spectators. St. Pete Pride takes place at the end of June (June 29, 2013) and draws folks from throughout the St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, and St. Pete Beaches region.
In St. Petersburg, Pride celebrations center around a handful of events throughout late June and culminating with a street festival and parade on Saturday. The fun begins Thursday, June 27 with a cinema night hosted by delightful diva Hedda Lettuce, and continues with a Friday-night Pride Concert featuring Uh Huh Her and Daphne Willis.
The major events of St. Pete Pride take place on Saturday, June 29. The action begins on Saturday morning with the St. Pete Pride Promenade, stepping off at 10 am. This colorful Gay Pride parade runs through the city's hip Grand Central District, starting at Georgie's Alibi gay bar and running along Central Avenue through historic Kenwood between 21st and 29th streets.
Following the parade, the St. Pete Pride Street Festival takes place from 9 am until 4 pm. The festival, with nearly 300 vendors, food providers, and GLBT organizations, runs along Central Avenue between 21st and 29th streets. There's always a full slate of top-notch performers at the festival.
Additionally, numerous gay bars as well as gay-popular restaurants, hotels, and shops have special events and parties throughout Pride Week - here's my list of the best gay-friendly accommodations in the St. Pete and Clearwater region, if you need some lodging ideas, and here's a guide to finding St. Pete's popular gay beach, which will also draw big crowds this weekend. Check local gay papers, such as Watermark for details. Also take a look at the excellent GLBT site produced by the city's official tourism organization, the St. Petersburg & Clearwater CVB.