June is Pride month, in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots credited with launching LGBTQ political activism to a larger stage, and there are activities planned throughout the Tampa Bay area to celebrate the community.
The month is intended to celebrate hard-won equality and to raise awareness about efforts still in progress.
“It’d be nice if gay pride was just kind of a part of being who you are, but in this climate, it’s a statement,” said Mark Moffitt, 44, who attended Tampa’s sixth Pride Diversity Festival on Saturday, when thousands lined up 10-deep on each side of E Seventh Avenue in Ybor City for a parade. “It’s activism in and of itself.”
St. Petersburg typically has one of the biggest Pride parades in the Southeast, with more than 260,000 celebrating in the streets at the 2019 parade. The pandemic canceled the 2020 parade, and the plans this year are to spread Pride events across a series of themed weekends in June. But there will be no parade because of coronavirus concerns.
“We’ve seen more gatherings across the nation and also Tampa holding its parade, but St. Pete Pride is moving forward with this plan regardless because with the percentage of vaccinations still in progress, we felt COVID protocols were still important to consider,” said Jim Nixon, the LGBTQ liaison for the St. Petersburg mayor’s office.
But you can expect to see more themed weekends in the future, Nixon said.
“We are excited because this plan will be a foundation as we return to Pride for next year, which will be the 20th anniversary of St. Pete Pride,” Nixon said.
Brian Longstreth, one of the founders of St. Pete Pride in 2002, is organizing a socially distanced parade of sorts for Come Out St. Pete’s Cruise-Around on June 27. Participants are invited to decorate their cars and join a caravan that will travel from Albert Whitted Park through various neighborhoods in St. Petersburg and Gulfport. Come Out St. Pete did a similar cruise-around in October for national Coming Out Day and had more than 30 participants.
“In some ways this is better because it highlights the entire city, and expands into Gulfport and we can still have a way to feel visible and participate,” Longstreth said.
St. Pete Pride’s first week, called Outdoor Adventure Week, kicks off June 5 with a 5K run that begins and ends in Vinoy Park, as well as a Diva Dash, an untimed 100-yard dash in high heels. The same day, the park hosts the Pride OUTside party with live music, local vendors and interactive experiences.
June 12 brings what organizers call the signature event of St. Pete Pride, with its first Family Week celebration of LGBTQ families and allies in Straub Park and the St. Pete Pier, where there will be family-focused vendors, entertainment and activities for kids.
The Factory, a new eight-acre, mixed-use space in the Warehouse Arts District, will house Arts and Music Week on June 19 and will also honor Juneteenth, and “the program will include a celebration of Black, Queer culture,” the Pride website says.
The month wraps up with Taste of PrideFest Week, when select restaurants will have $5 specials on brews and bites June 21-27. There will be a picnic June 26 in Straub Park with local restaurants and fireworks capping off the night.
Tickets for each weekend celebration are $5. An event calendar and tickets are available at stpetepride.org/st-pete-pridefest-2021.
Gulfport Pride: Getting a slight jump on June, this celebration and showcase of LGBTQ-friendly people and businesses benefits the LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Public Library. It starts with the Gulfport Gecko Amalgamated Marching Band, starting at the steps of Gulfport Recreation Center and ending at the library for the flag-raising, followed by an art exhibition and market along Beach Boulevard. Free. 4-9 p.m. Saturday. Gulfport Library, 2101 56th St. S, Gulfport.
Official Pride Flag Raising: Mayor Rick Kriseman raises the city’s Pride flag at a ceremony at 11 a.m. on June 1 at City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg.
Pride Shabbat: Congregation B’nai Israel of St. Petersburg is hosting Pride Shabbat on Upham Beach. Bring a picnic and enjoy beach ball games, drinks and a swag bag. No previous experience or knowledge of Jewish practice required. 5:30 p.m., June 4 at Gulf Boulevard and 68th Street on St. Pete Beach.
Pride Run and OUTside festival: Fun runs will be followed by a Pride OUTside festival with music and outdoor experiences such a yoga class in the park and roaming entertainers. The festival is $5, and the 5K is $50, $15 for age 14 and younger, which includes a finisher’s medal and shirt. The high-heel Diva Dash is $15, free for all 5K participants. Register to run at priderunseries.com/events/st-pete/race-registration. 7 a.m.-2 p.m. June 5 at Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg.
PCI Pride: Family Fun Slip-n-Slide: The Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach is inviting families to celebrate Pride month with some slip-and-slide fun on the Vertical Rush, located right on the beach behind the hotel. Organizers suggest ride sharing as parking is limited. June 12, noon-8 p.m. Postcard Inn, 6300 Gulf Blvd., St Pete Beach.
Ride with Pride Bike Tour: A three-hour bicycle tour will travel through Historic Kenwood, Grand Central, the Warehouse Arts District and the Edge while discussing St Pete’s Pride’s history as well as this year’s events. Includes stops at several of St. Pete’s most-loved LGBTQ destinations, where beverages and brunch may be purchased. The tour starts and ends at the Kenwood Gables bed and breakfast, 2801 Seventh Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Departure time is 11:30 a.m. every Sunday of the month, June 6-27. Bicycles, helmets and a souvenir water bottle are included. $29 at stpetebikingtours.com or call 727-200-4051.
Pride Bowl: Big Brothers and Big Sisters is holding its fourth annual Pride bowling event to increase awareness of LGBTQ members and raise funds for its programs. 3:30-6:30 p.m. June 5 at Ten Pin Lanes, 1453 Pasadena Ave. S, South Pasadena. $25. Register at give.bbbstampabay.org/ge/pride2021.
We Are Family: Family-friendly entertainment, vendors and activities will be set up in Straub Park and the St. Pete Pier. Tickets are $5 at Eventbrite. 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. on June 12. 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg
Fashion Show: Poolside fashion show at the Gay St. Pete House bed and breakfast. Food and drink included for $25. June 13, noon-4 p.m. 4505 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 727-365-0544.
Arts + Qulture: The Warehouse Arts District will have performers around every corner of The Factory, from main stage performances to wandering musicians and dancers. Tickets are $5 at Eventbrite. 3-10 p.m. June 19. The Factory, 2622 Fairfield Ave. S, St. Petersburg.
Grand Central block party: The Grand Central District will close off traffic for a pedestrian-safe Street Stroll on the 2300 and 2400 blocks of Central Avenue on June 26. Free.
Come Out St. Pete Cruise Around: Decorate your vehicle and join a caravan that will leave Albert Whitted Park and head west through the Edge district and Grand Central, then head to Gulfport and circle back through St. Petersburg’s 22nd Street neighborhood dubbed The Deuces, and finally downtown for the roughly 90-minute tour. It begins at the park at at 11 a.m. June 27. 480 Bayshore Drive SE, St. Petersburg. Free.
Pride at the Village: The Pinellas Arts Village will have open studios, food trucks, vendors, community organizations and live entertainment at a pet-friendly festival June 26 from 2-10 p.m. 5601 Park Blvd N, Pinellas Park. Free.
Pride Picnic and Fireworks: Set up a picnic in Straub Park, where there will be musical performances, food trucks, vendors, artists and fireworks. Tickets are $5 at Eventbrite. 2-9 p.m. June 26. 198 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg.