St. Pete Pride started out as a grassroots event that the LGBT community rallied around, giving it the time, love and attention to allow it to grow and thrive. Within just three years it had become one of the largest Pride events in Florida, and now in its thirteenth year, it claims the title of one of the top two largest Pride events in the state and one of the top ten largest in the entire country. A lot of events will be going on from Wednesday, June 24 through to Sunday, June 28, and over 125,000 people will be there. All that’s missing is you! Here’s the lowdown on the events you should definitely attend on Pride Weekend.
The kick-off event for St. Pete Pride is the Stonewall Reception, which will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24 at St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts (255 Beach Dr. NW). The cocktail reception, which is heavily attended by Tampa Bay LGBT elite, will feature an open bar and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased online at stpetepride.com.
Then, on Thursday, June 25, Macy’s at Tyrone Square Mall (6901 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg) will be hosting a special Pride fashion show called “Pride in Fashion.” The host for the show is RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Ross Mathews. He will be on hand to talk about his life and what pride means to him, and he will also introduce the hottest clothing styles for Pride Weekend. There will also be photo opportunities after the show. The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and donations are highly suggested at the door. For every $10 donated, Macy’s will give the donor a $10 gift card.
On Friday, June 26, St. Pete Pride (with the help of Sarasota Pride) will present their annual 27/82 Concert. As always, this is a fundraiser for St. Pete Pride, so any donations that can be left at the check-in point are appreciated. For the first time ever, this concert will be open-air and free to the public (as previously mentioned, donations are appreciated). The stage will be erected on the corner of Central Avenue and 26th Street. Alex Newell, well-known for his role as Unique from the TV series Glee, will headline the event and bring you some fun, high-energy music that will make you dance. Various bands and local singers will open for Alex Newell as people come out to the stage and get comfortable. The concert begins at 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 27 begins with the St. Pete Pride 5K and Stiletto Sprint, which will begin at 8 and 9 a.m., respectively, in downtown Gulfport. The 5K track will take runners from the beach through downtown Gulfport and back to the beach again, while the Stiletto Sprint is much shorter, just 100 yards, but it has to be done all in high heels! Can you run the 100 yards from the Gulfport Casino to Salty’s in heels? If you do, you’ll win the contest! For more information on how to sign up, visit stpetepride5k.com.
At 5 p.m., the Pride Block Party begins in the Grand Central District, on Central Avenue stretching from 22nd to 27th Streets. There will be food and drink vendors up and down the street, as well as bars and restaurants open and ready for you. Then, at sunset, the Pride Parade begins. A big success last year, the nighttime Pride Parade returns this year and will be a part of St. Pete Pride for the foreseeable future. Over 100 groups will be marching in the parade, many of them showing off elaborate floats. The grand marshals that will be honored this year in the Pride Parade are Larry Biddle, Nick Janovsky, Ashley Brundage, and the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County. Glamstands, which are bleacher areas right on the street, with easy access to uncrowded bars and bathrooms, also return for St. Pete Pride 2015. To buy those tickets, visit stpetepride.com/glamstands2015.
The final day of St. Pete Pride, Sunday, June 28, will be a great day for a festival, namely the St. Pete Pride Street Festival. With over 50,000 people expected to come out this afternoon, it is one of the largest LGBT community events of the year in Tampa Bay. The festival begins at 11 a.m. on Central Avenue between 22nd and 27th Streets. Over 350 exhibitors will be set up across six city blocks, ranging from food and drink trucks to small businesses to service organizations to media to vendors and more.