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St. Pete Pride, one of the largest gay pride celebrations in the state of Florida, celebrates its 12th annual festivities this year. This year’s celebrations include three eventful days of pride concerts, parties and festivals. While the official first day of events is Friday, June 27, things will be kicking off the night before with an intimate reception with local and state decision makers.

This reception, the MFA Stonewall Reception, will be held at the beautiful Museum of Fine Arts (255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg). It will feature an open bar, light hors d’oeuvres, and short speeches from St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, who will march in the Pride Parade this year, and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who is running for another term in the November election. The dress code requested is dressy casual or cocktail attire. Tickets are $35 and can only be purchased in advance by going to the Stonewall Reception page on ShowClix (showclix.com/events/17630).

The first night of Pride parties and events, Friday, June 27, starts off with “27/82: The Concert,” so named because Tampa Bay sits at approximately 27 degrees North latitude and 82 degrees pete_2West longitude. The doors open at State Theater (687 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg) at 7 p.m. Headlining performers include Mary Lambert, who provided supporting vocals on the Top Ten pop song “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and recently released the EP Welcome to the Age of My Body. Other headliners include the alternative rock bands Hunter Valentine and Kill the Sound. Produced by Girl 2 Girl Productions and presented by St. Pete Pride and Sarasota Pride, proceeds earned from ticket sales will benefit the St. Pete Pride Community Grants Program. Tickets are $25 and you can purchase them online by going to stpetepride.com/prideweekend/friday. There is an official 27/82 After Party, which will start at Georgie’s Alibi (3400 3rd Avenue N., St. Petersburg) at 11 p.m.

You may have read our article last week about the biggest change to St. Pete Pride, and that change is that the pride parade will be held at night for the first time ever. There will be a block party preceding the parade, which will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 28, and will feature music, food and drink on Central Avenue between 22nd and 27th Streets. Three unique DJ stages will be positioned in this block party area.

The parade will roll off close to sunset (which is at 8:30 p.m. in St. Petersburg on June 28). The Pride Parade, as in past years, will start in Historic Kenwood and will proceed aong 30th Street and Central Avenue into the Grand Central District. 120,000 people are expected to come for the parade, and over 150 organizations and businesses are planning to show their pride and march in the night parade. The vast majority of the parade route will be along Central Avenue, with floats and walkers moving along the main avenue from 30th Street to 21st Street. The grand marshals who will be front and center during the pride parade are St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Darden Rice; AIDS Service Association of Pinellas Resource Development Manager Jay Aller; and PFLAG Tampa (represented in the parade by their members and led by John and Nancy Desmond).

An addition to St. Pete Pride’s parade this year is the advent of the “glamstand.” Presented by St. Petersburg Distillery, the glamstands allow people to view the parade in style. Not only do they offer bleacher-style seating and an unobstructed view of the parade, open bar and food access is also provided, as well as access to VIP air-conditioned restrooms. Tickets cost $40 and can be bought online via ShowClix (showclix.com/event/3850783).

The St. Pete Pride festival will have its own day, Sunday, June 29. Considering the festival boasts more than 300 vendors and organizations set up in various booths down Central Avenue between 22nd and 27th Streets, it was important for the festival to shine on its own dedicated day. Come on down between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. for lots of fun.

The music stages remain the same as on Saturday: The HCA Hospital Stage is on Central between 26th and 27th Streets; the Queens Head Main Stage is on Central between 24th and 25th; and the Wells Fargo Stage is on Central between 22nd and 23rd. Most of the festival area is family-friendly; there is just one 18+ area across from the HCA Hospital Stage between 26th and 27th Streets. Entertainment acts on hand to perform during the festival include Vernessa Mitchell, Karmic Tattoo, Chris Stein, Nick Plantantis, Anthony Murphy, Alyssa, Kim Roberts, Iris Calling, and Ryan Perry.

Be prepared, most vendors only accept cash so be prepared beforehand. There are a limited number of ATMs on the street and in businesses such as The Queens Head and the VFW post. In the interests of security, organizers and St. Petersburg police have asked us to tell readers to refrain from bringing the following items: alcohol (open container laws still apply; there will be alcohol vendors to purchase from at the festival); inline rollerskates; laser pointers; radios; skateboards or scooters; fireworks; weapons or any other firearms; and pets or animals.

Presenting sponsors and major sponsors of St. Pete Pride this year include Wells Fargo, HCA West Florida, the St. Petersburg Distillery, Florida Blue, Mix 100.7, 93.3 FLZ, Bud Light, TD Bank, and State Farm. Hotspots Media Group is proud to be a sponsor of St. Pete Pride.

St. Pete Pride is organized by board members and volunteers affiliated with St. Pete Pride, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2003. For more information about St. Pete Pride, visit stpetepride.org. Like them on facebook at facebook.com/stpetepride and follow them on twitter at twitter.com/stpetepride.
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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.