With the unfurling and parading of a 900-foot rainbow flag, the St. Pete Pride Promenade will make its 10th trek through St. Petersburg on Saturday, bringing tens of thousands of people to the city's Grand Central district for the Southeast's biggest gay pride parade. A sign of the parade and street festival's growing prestige: R&B singer and Broadway star Deborah Cox (Aida and the upcoming Jekyll & Hyde) brings her pipes to headline the day's entertainment, and comic Christine O'Leary is this year's "Mistress of Ceremonies."
Here's the schedule for the day as well as the many spinoff events this week:
St. Pete Pride Promenade
More than 100 floats decked out in rainbow colors begin rolling at 9 a.m. on the streets of St. Petersburg between 21st and 28th streets along Central Avenue. Afterward at the street festival, a sweaty crowd will pack some 10 city blocks as nearly 200 vendors from across the state line Central Avenue. R&B singer Deborah Cox (Nobody's Supposed to Be Here) will headline the Jagermeister PLAY 98.7 main stage at 21st Street and Central Avenue.
An Evening with Christine O'Leary
After the parade and street festival, spend an evening with the comic nominated one of America's 50 Funniest Lesbians by Curve magazine. The activist and comic is known for off-the-cuff improv and storytelling. Proceeds benefit the Metro Wellness and Community Center. $10 at the community center, 3251 Third Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 279-5428. 8 p.m. Saturday.
Stonewall Commemorative Reception
St. Pete Pride's sponsors' and friends' reception at the Museum of Fine Arts features entertainment by Una Voce and comic Christine O'Leary. All galleries are open, with catered food and full bar service. Proceeds benefit St. Pete Pride's Community Grant Program. $25 advance, $30 at the door. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 279-5428. 7 p.m. today.
Pride in Fashion
Macy's holds a pre-Pride fashion show with celebrity guests, including television host and Broadway singer-performer Jai Rodriguez, comic Christine O'Leary and award-winning actor, playwright and journalist Alec Mapa as headliners. Free hors d'oeuvres and Champagne, and Macy's will replace your $10 admission with a $10 gift card. Benefits St. Pete Pride. Tyrone Square Mall, 6901 Tyrone Square, St. Petersburg. (727) 279-5428. 6 p.m. Friday.
Prelude to Pride: A Wizard of Oz
Dorothy and her friends stroll down the yellow brick road in this naughty adaptation of the fabled classic by L. Frank Baum. Proceeds from this Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project benefit local charities. Pay what you can at the door, $15 advance. American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theater, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-7529. americanstage.org. 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Miss Gay Florida America Pageant
Monica Moore, Miss Gay Florida America 2010, hosts the state preliminary to the 2013 Miss Gay America Pageant, a three-hour female impersonation extravaganza. Scheduled performers include 2011 Miss Gay Florida Zhane' Kennedy, Miss Gay Florida 2009 Crystle Chambers and 2012 Miss Gay America Kirby Kolby. $28-$35. Freefall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 498-5205. 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Queens of Drag
Host and emcee Daphne Ferraro presides over this drag show with drink specials, bottle specials and performances by Chi Chi LaLique and Amy Demilo. Jackson's Bistro Bar and Sushi, 601 S Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa. (813) 265-1234. 11:30 p.m. Friday.