The Tampa Pride parade and street festival returns to Ybor City on Saturday.
Tampa Pride president Carrie West said even though Tampa's modestly sized pride parade and festival is affectionately known in the community as the "baby pride," this year's event could top last year's crowd of 30,000 attendees.
There are more vendors at the festival this year, including a food truck alley . And there are more floats in the parade, which includes former Hillsborough commissioner Kevin Beckner and local entertainer Joey Brooks as grand marshals . Steve Grand, hailed as the first openly gay country singer to taste mainstream success when his video for the song All American Boy went viral, is the headliner on the main festival stage.
Another highlight will be the emotional Tampa Pride tribute, featuring Pulse nightclub shooting survivors, first responders and bar staff from Orlando. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, other city officials and a large group of veterans will be there to hold a sea of white dove balloons. (In a nod to the environment, the balloons won't be released into the sky.)
The ceremony will include a 100-foot portion of the historic, 1.25 mile long rainbow flag unfurled in 2003 along Key West's Duval Street. It reached all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.
Ybor City's Crowbar will have a beer garden serving Tampa Pride Passion, a new beer brewed for the event by Florida Avenue Brewing. Also new: the marching bands from Plant High School and at least one other local school will be the first school marching bands to participate in the parade, West said.
Contact Christopher Spata at [email protected] Follow @SpataTimes.