Tampa Pride is a group of passionate advocates, community leaders and engaged volunteers. Their mission is to organize year-round events, culminating in an annual Pride event that celebrates members of the LGBTQ+ community in Tampa and the surrounding areas – championing their shared experiences, honoring their differences and strengthening their community. They believe in equal rights for all.

The Tampa Pride Street Festival is back! Once again, They’re working with HCC Ybor Campus to bring added attractions. The Tampa Pride Street Festival will include an Arts & Crafts Show, Community Health Fair and Entrepreneurs Area. The Main Stage will be located in the Cuban Club Courtyard. The Street Festival will kick off at 10:45am with the Tampa Bay Pride Band and guest speakers followed by featured entertainment.

The vendor areas are in two main areas: E 9th Avenue & The HCC parking lot. The E 9th Avenue area is two blocks from N 13th Street to N 15th Street. The second area comprises the HCC parking lot area.

Back this year will be the Food Alley. Located on 14th Street between 9th Ave & Palm Ave., right between The Cuban Club and HHC!!! This area will be open 11AM to 11PM. Food trucks are the only food vendor spaces allowed in the festival this year.

The Street Festival will feature an Arts and Crafts area, an affordable way for more vendors to participate!

The annual Tampa Pride Diversity Parade will once again wind its way east from the corner of Nuccio Parkway and E 7th Avenue, down E 7th Avenue to N 20th Street where it will turn north to disperse. The parade will kick off at 4pm.

The Tampa Pride VIP Sponsors Party takes place two days earlier on Thursday, March 23 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay 10165 McKinley Drive. When you purchase a ticket to the Tampa Pride VIP Sponsors Party you gain access to an all-day admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with free parking culminating in an exclusive party with hors doeuvres and drinks located in the Gwazi Pavillion at 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM. One free drink is provided, but a cash-only bar will also be available on site.

Pepper Mashay

We decided to sit down with headliner Pepper Mashay, who will be celebrating her 70th birthday at pride, for this exclusive Hotspots interview: 

Do you remember the first time you sang or were you always a singer?

I started when I was 7 (come from military family) we had a great life, and we would go home to either Nashville or Munsey Indiana, and I was such a radio kid and the first song I remember singing was “Sherry Baby” in front of my family as we would have a little amateur hour.

When was the first time you got paid for singing and do you remember how much it was?

The first was when I won my high school end of the year talent show. I got $75. It was the song “Its Your Thing, Do What You Want To Do” by the Eisley brothers.

You sang for the likes of Tina Turner, Cher, Mick Jagger, Keb’ Mo’, and Celine Dion, do you have a favorite?

OMG it would have to be Tina Turner. Roby Nevil got me those gigs, and he discovered me at a studio, and he recommended me to the Tina Turner Project. It was for the soundtrack for “What’s Love Got to do With It.”

You became known internationally with your hit “Dive In The Pool.” How did that come about, and do you still enjoy singing it?

I was working at a full-time job, and I was called one day to come in by Barry Harris to do a track. I went to their studio in the valley, and he didn’t want me to sing it he wanted me to talk it. But he wanted me to get in a frame of mind of a character. I took the character of my mom when she was calling my siblings and I from the window to come home for dinner. After I did it, I went out on tour as a back up singer internationally, and I was getting messages from my friends that the Winter Music conference was blowing up the song. By the time I made it back home, I was approached by George Dillinger (Barry’s manager) to come out on the road and sing the track for Muscle Beach during White Party weekend in South Beach. I did the party, and it blew me up! The track then went on to be the theme song for Queer as Folk.

I just found out that you live with your wife Ellen. To be honest, I always thought you were straight…do tell?

I thought I was too…LOL! But then I meet Ellen and we will be celebrating our 10-year anniversary in October. We met at an AIDS Benefit. It was very profound, as I was coming off a divorce from a 30-year marriage, and my sons are 43 and 47, so I was flying solo. I saw Ellen and fell in love with her. She invited me over to her house and I never left or looked back.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Dreamer, loner, and exhilarating. 

What do you do for fun?

I watch a lot of news and I am not happy with what’s been happening with our political discourse in this country. This creates a lot of hate. I have the fire in me to get people to be more accepting and loving.

You will be celebrating your 70th birthday at Tampa Pride. How special is this and are you excited to be once again performing at Tampa Pride?

Babe it is phenomenal. I have had instances in my life and career where people have fallen in love with me as a human being, as I do my best to treat everyone the same. But when you have an organization, like Tampa Pride, that wants me to keep coming back, its an amazing feeling. Tampa is turning out to be a haven for me for all this exciting music that I am coming out with. I literally asked them “Aren’t you sick of me yet” and they said “no,” and that they love me every time. I cant wait to perform at Tampa Pride once again!

What does the future hold for you?

More songs and hopefully this year will be great for me as I am working on my compilations. I did a Volume 1, and I am now working on Volume 2 and 3.

For more information or to purchase tickets, etc. go to