Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Pete Pride revelers soak in sun, fun

ST. PETERSBURG — They got on stage about noon, when the sky was cloudless, the sun bright and the breeze nonexistent.

It was sweltering, but for singers Matthew McGee and Scott Daniel, The Scott & Patti Show had to go on. Daniel was garbed in a red blazer and tie. McGee wore a glittery red dress, panty hose, heels and a blond wig.

"If you're in drag," McGee said after the show, "You're going to melt."

But despite sizzling temperatures that reached into the mid 90s in St. Petersburg on Sunday, Central Avenue between 22nd and 27th Streets N was bustling during the St. Pete Pride festival.

Revelers did what they could to stay cool: Many went shirtless and some wore bikinis. A few brought umbrellas. By 1 p.m., several people sought shade below business entrances on Central Avenue. A misting station was also available.

Sunday marked the first time the festival was held separately from the St. Pete Pride parade, which took place Saturday evening after a block party.

Vendors and those in attendance seemed to like it.

"So far, it's turning out to be good," said Andrew Panton of St. Petersburg-based Cheers! Events. Their booth was decorated with rainbow-colored feather boas.

Having the festival at an earlier time prevents the chance of evening rain dampening festivities. Last year, the festival ended an hour early because of downpours.

"It was a monsoon," Panton recalled.

Mina and Deb Kaeding of Tampa said they enjoyed having more time to visit vendors, and the fact that St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman attended Saturday's parade was also a plus for them.

"Everybody has a right to their own beliefs and feelings," Deb Kaeding said. "But we appreciate those who understand."

Their favorite part of St. Pete Pride: being able to show affection in public without attracting stares. About a year ago, they married in Washington, D.C.

"We would have loved it to be able to marry in this state," Deb Kaeding said.

More than 300 exhibitors flanked the street, including Equality Florida. A line of people wanting to sign a petition for marriage equality in Florida formed outside the booth.

"We're getting hundreds" of signatures, said Equality Florida coordinator Connie Siu. "By the end of the day, thousands."

St. Pete Pride organizers estimated that about 175,000 people would attend the parade and festival, with as many as 3,500 hotel rooms booked in St. Petersburg for the festivities.

Among the out-of-towners were Chris Neal and Juanie Rose of Bradenton. The women have been dating since 2006.

"We just came up here to support it," Neal said, adding that Bradenton recently had its first gay pride parade. "I think it's growing and people are accepting it. We are only human."

Contact Laura C. Morel at or (727)445-4157. Follow @lauracmorel.

St. Pete Pride revelers soak in sun, fun 06/29/14 [Last modified: Sunday, June 29, 2014 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Supreme Court allows limited version of Trump's travel ban to take effect, will consider case in fall


    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to allow a limited version of President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect, and will consider in the fall the president's broad powers in immigration matters in a case that raised fundamental issues of national security …

    Prrotesters wave signs and chant during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, outside a federal courthouse in Seattle in May. The Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, overturning lower court orders that blocked it. The action Monday, June 26, 2017, is a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency. [Associated Press]
  2. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches


    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Restaurant review: Deccan Spice in Feather Sound is a gateway to the allures of Indian cuisine

    Food & Dining


    Feather Sound's Tru Lounge, which was Flo Lounge before that, morphed into Grand Siam in 2012, a giant Thai restaurant owned by the folks who had Ban Thai restaurants in Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon and Lakeland. It was lavish with dramatic fluted chandeliers and a long, polished wood sushi bar, but it …

    Some of the selections at a recent lunch buffet at Deccan Spice included chicken biryani, gobi masala and murgh masala.
  4. Gov. Rick Scott appoints 'my friend' Jimmy Patronis as state chief financial officer


    Gov. Rick Scott on Monday appointed a long-time friend and political supporter, Jimmy Patronis, to replace Jeff Atwater as Florida's next chief financial officer, making him one of three members of the Cabinet that sets state policy on a …

    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO
  5. Officially official: Malik Zaire, Jake Fruhmorgen join Florida Gators


    It's finally, officially official: Malik Zaire has joined the Florida Gators.