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St. Pete Pride weekend holds many 'firsts'

Members of the St. Petersburg Twirling Project show off their moves in the St. Pete Pride parade, which the city has embraced.

LARA CERRI | Times (2013)

Members of the St. Petersburg Twirling Project show off their moves in the St. Pete Pride parade, which the city has embraced.

ST. PETERSBURG — For the first time, St. Pete Pride is moving its popular parade out of the blistering heat and placing it in the streets of Grand Central after sunset this year.

A rainbow flag will be flown in front of City Hall for most of the weekend, and the mayor himself will attend the June 28 parade.

It's a stark change from previous years, when the relationship between the parade and City Hall was at arm's reach, at best.

"The dominoes of inequality are collapsing all over the place, and we're thrilled to be part of such a diverse city here in St. Petersburg," St. Pete Pride Executive Director Eric Skains said after accepting a proclamation read by Mayor Rick Kriseman said during a recent council meeting

In addition to listing several ways the city supports its gay residents and their families, the proclamation declared June "LGBT Pride Month."

Kriseman also announced the appointment of Robert Danielson, who recently became the city's permanent marketing director, as St. Petersburg's LGBT liaison, a newly created position.

Lt. Markus Hughes will serve a similar role for the Police Department.

Unlike previous mayors, Kriseman has made connecting with the gay community a top priority. His administration also has had a more active role in the annual St. Pete Pride event.

Before reading the proclamation, Kriseman signed the Mayors for Freedom to Marry Proclamation.

"By signing this pledge, we're taking one more step towards creating a city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play," he said in a statement.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@tampabay.com, (727) 893-8643 or on Twitter @cornandpotatoes.

.If you go

Two days of Pride

June 28: St. Pete Pride's parade will kick off with a block party at 5 p.m. on Central Avenue, between 22nd and 27th streets. The parade steps off at sunset.

June 29: The daytime festival at 2429 Central Ave. will begin at 11 a.m. Motown Records artist Vernessa Mitchell will headline the event, which includes more than 300 vendors, multiple stages, a wellness pavilion and the St. Pete Art Mash.

St. Pete Pride weekend holds many 'firsts' 06/19/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 19, 2014 10:47am]
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