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 in Paradise," 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. More on St. Pete Pride 2013 will be posted here as information becomes available. Here's a look at last year's event, in the meantime.
There are several Pride-related events scheduled for the weeks leading up to the big weekend.
The major events of St. Pete Pride take place on Saturday. The action begins on Saturday morning with the St. Pete Pride Promenade from 9 am until 10:30 am. This colorful 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 28th streets.
Following the parade, the St. Pete Pride Street Festival takes place from 10 am until 3 pm. The festival, with nearly 300 vendors, food providers, and GLBT organizations, runs along Central Avenue between 21st and 28th streets. Performers this year at St. Pete Gay Pride include pop star Deborah Cox, comedian Christine O'Leary, and many others.
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.