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After a thirteen-year absence, Tampa Pride is back — louder and prouder than ever. The Tampa Pride parade and festival will grace the streets of Ybor City on Saturday, March 28.

Tampa Pride’s events kicked off last month with the reveal of the parade’s grand marshals and the naming of Miss Tampa Pride Emeritus. The grand marshals in this year’s Tampa Pride parade are Jane Castor, Tampa Police Chief, and Kurt King, owner of Hamburger Mary’s Tampa, Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater and Baxter’s Lounge. Esme Russell was named Miss Tampa Pride Emeritus. These people, along with sponsors, celebrities and other VIP guests, will be attending a special gala which will be held on Thursday, March 26 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Hamburger Mary’s Tampa.

On the day of Tampa Pride, Saturday, March 28, 100 vendors and organizations will set up shop along 8th Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets. Car dealers and the Flamingo Auto Group will display their automobiles on 8th Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets. There will be a beer garden open as well, on 8th Avenue and 17th Street. The festival, car display and beer garden will open up at 10 a.m.

At the same time, the parade will start setting up. Floats, dignitaries and marching groups will be given their starting order and they will assemble between 10 a.m. and the parade’s kickoff at 1 p.m. At that time, the parade will begin and will traverse 7th Avenue. The route the parade will take this year is 7th Avenue from Nuccio Boulevard to 20th Street.

Live entertainment can be seen from the Centro Ybor Courtyard, between 7th and 8th Avenues, starting at 10 p.m. Various political figures from around Tampa Bay will be introduced in the morning and they will make their remarks. After the introductions are over, an entire day of live entertainment is on tap, featuring national celebrities such as pop singer Inaya Day and pop singing group (We Are) Nexus, as well as many local acts.

As the parade and festival wind down around 5 p.m., nine different gay bars and clubs in the GaYBOR District are ready for you and they will be open long into the night. These establishments include Bradley’s on 7th, Hamburger Mary’s Tampa, Liquid Tampa, G. Bar, The Honey Pot, Ybor City Social Club, and more. In addition, there are gay bars located outside Ybor City, such as City Side, The Body Shop, and Baxter’s Lounge, and they will be having special events as well.

Don’t forget the Pride Yacht Party on Sunday, March 29, which will leave from the docks at Channelside at 4:30 p.m. This party will feature a DJ, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar, and is a benefit for Metro Wellness and Community Centers. You can purchase tickets to the Yacht Party by going to metrotampabay.org.

For more information on Tampa Pride, visit tampapride.org. Use #TampaPride when sharing pictures and posts on social media.

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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.