ST. PETERSBURG — Race car driver Ryan Briscoe, winner of the 2009 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, will be the grand marshal for this year's Festival of States Illuminated Night Parade on Thursday.
The festival opens with live entertainment at Familyfest from 5 to 8 p.m. in North Straub Park. A kids zone will feature inflatables, a rock wall, the Tampa Bay Rays pitching booth, Radio Disney and activities from the Pier Aquarium, Great Explorations, the Salvador Dalí Museum and Celebration Station.
Families on the Go magazine plans a summer camp zone.
The night parade begins at 7 p.m., the official kickoff event for the Grand Prix. The route travels east from Central Avenue and Fifth Street, north on Second Street, east on First Avenue N, then north on Beach Drive to Fifth Avenue N.
Afterward, a fireworks display and Party in the Park will take place in North Straub Park. Michael Andretti and Grand Prix drivers will sign autographs. The Second Time Arounders will perform a patriotic tribute, and the Barracudas will perform.
Public parking is available in the BayWalk and South Core garages. Handicap parking is available on the south side of Fifth Avenue N, east of Beach Drive, in front of the Vinoy.
The Festival of States, produced annually by the Suncoasters of St. Petersburg, is celebrating its 89th year.