This week is St. Pete Pride, one of the South’s largest LGBTQ+ celebrations; the Tampa Bay Times reports that police are investigating threats against the Pride weekend posted on social media.
To find out what to expect in events tonight through Sunday, WMNF News spoke with Luke Blankenship, executive director with St. Pete Pride about the festivities and how the parade’s new location on the downtown waterfront worked out last year.
“The same thing as every year — you’ve got a community that’s super-diverse. Everybody from a 14-year-old gay boy to a 90-year-old trans woman and you can just feel the love throughout the whole, entire festivities across all five days. It’s really even hard to explain unless you literally go there because of the amazing optimism, love and acceptance that everybody at the festivities have.”
How many people are you expecting and how would that compare to previous years?
“We’re expecting 250,000 over the course of the weekend and that’s pretty in-line of what we’ve seen within the last couple of years as well.”
What are some of the highlights? If people have never been, what are some events that they shouldn’t miss?
“We have five events that are taking place this week. So we have our kickoff party at the Hotel Zamora from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. [Thursday 21 June 2018]. And then we have our concert on Friday at North Straub Park from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; it’s called the SP2 Concert. And then our two big events — which we get 200,000 and 50,000 [people attending] for each event, respectively — is our parade on Saturday. The festivities start at 2:00 p.m. and run [to] 10:00 p.m. But the parade starts at 7:00 p.m. and runs until about 9:30 p.m. with fireworks at the end. And then on Sunday we have our street festival with over 200 vendors. That’s from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Grand Central District on Central Avenue from 22nd to 28th Streets.”
Here’s the guide to St. Pete Pride: