This weekend is the Tampa Pride festival; most events are centered in Ybor City on Saturday.
To find out what people can expect, WMNF spoke with Nancy Desmond from Tampa Pride.
“Tampa Pride is the Pride event that celebrates the Tampa LGBTQ community. This year our theme is Milestones. We’re celebrating our fifth year. And it’s also the 50th year of the Stonewall Uprising. So this is a big event for the LGBTQ community.
“Last year, Tampa Pride had about 40,000 attendees. So we are looking for, this being only our fifth year, we’re looking to get 50,000 or maybe even more this year. It’s a really great event for, not only the LGBTQ community, but for all their family and friends, as well.
“I’m a director of Tampa Pride. My husband is the web master, and our son is gay. So we’re involved with PFLAG, parents, family and friends of LBGTQ+ community, which is how we ended getting involved with Tampa Pride in the first place.
“So we have lots of events going on. Of course, Saturday is the Diversity Parade and Festival. But, before that, Thursday is our big VIP party to celebrate our sponsors. And anybody can come. It’s at the Florida Aquarium.”
“…On Saturday, the Festival and Parade kicks off with the Tampa Pride Festival at 9:45 a.m., and it goes until 5:15 at night. It’s in the Hillsborough Community College (Ybor City) parking lot. We’ll have vendors, food.”
“…We have a health fair where you can get screening for cancer, HIV, of course, you can get a massage, all sorts of health information and health booths. And, then, of course, entertainment all day on our main stage in the parking lot. We’ll have musicians, drag queens after drag queens. It’s just going to be one after another. It’s just going to be going on all day.
“And, of course, the highlight is the parade, which goes right down the heart of Ybor, right down 7th Avenue. At 12:30, we have a community tribute which is going to be featuring a tribute to Pulse, basically. We’ll have our mayors, hopefully, from both Orlando and Tampa, and at one o’clock, the parade kicks off.”
“…In our parade, you’re going to see people, particularly youth, marching down the road. They’ll be draped in transgender flags, or Pride flags, and you’ll notice that some of them are actually crying. This is profound for them. These are people, for some of them, this is the one day of the year that they can be authentic. And tens of thousands of people are standing on the sidelines cheering for them and celebrating them. I mean, you’re not going to find that at any other parade.”
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