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 120,000 participants and spectators. St. Pete Pride takes place at the end of June (June 27 thru June 29, 2014) 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 Friday, June 27, with the 27/82 Pride Benefit Concert featuring Mary Lambert, Hunter Valentine, Connor Zwetsch, and others, taking place at 7 pm at the State Theater on Central Avenue. Note that there's an after-party later in the evening at Georgie's Alibi gay bar.
The major events of St. Pete Pride take place on Saturday and Sunday.
The afternoon kicks off with the St. Pete Pride Block Party, taking place from 5 pm until sundown. The celebration, with nearly 150 vendors, food providers, and GLBT organizations, runs along Central Avenue between 22nd and 27th streets. The action culminates on Saturday evening, at sunset, with the St. Pete Pride Parade. 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.
On Sunday, June 29, the St. Pete Pride Festival is held in the same place as the previous day's block party, between 22nd and 27th streets along Central Avenue, from 11 am until 6 pm.
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.