St. Pete/Clearwater, FL (June 27, 2013) - Fresh off the heels of a major LGBT Supreme Court ruling, revelers in town for this week's St. Pete Pride---Florida's largest LGBT celebration---will have much to celebrate, from art exhibits, to fashion shows, concerts and more, culminating in Saturday's Street Festival and Promenade along St. Pete's Grand Central District.
This year, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has invited two local partner organizations---Tampa International Airport and Visit Tampa Bay---to join in the VSPC booth at Saturday's parade, marking the first time the three organizations have joined forces to promote the entire region in the LGBT arena. And in yet another area first, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has announced plans to march in this year's St. Pete Pride Parade.
"The LGBT community is an important part of the travel industry, and this event speaks volumes about the level of diversity visitors will find when they travel to the St. Pete/Clearwater area," said David Downing, VSPC Deputy Director. "We're particularly excited to be welcoming our friends from Tampa to partner with us this year, since so many of our visitors celebrate pride on both sides of the Bay."
St. Pete Pride, which is in its 11th year, dwarfs similar gatherings in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, and draws thousands of visitors to the area's bars, restaurants and accommodations for the festivities.
The event drew some 100,000 attendees last year, but St. Pete Pride organizers believe attendance might approach 125,000 this year due to the GLBT community's response to the Supreme Court ruling earlier this week.
Local business owners say the more, the merrier.
"This is a fantastic event for our area," said Darren Connor, co-owner of The Queens Head Restaurant and Eurobar on Central Avenue in St. Pete. "And it's amazing for businesses throughout St. Pete/Clearwater."
Connor, whose restaurant is hosting a pride event this year, is especially fond of the parade. "The parade makes for a fun day, and we see visitors from around the world," he added.
Though the bulk of the pride events take place in St. Pete, visitors will find GLBT-friendly establishments throughout the area, from Clearwater's Pro Shop Pub to Blur nightclub in Dunedin, to the Flamingo Resort and Georgi's Alibi in St. Pete and a number of clubs in Tampa's GaYBOR District.
Not only is Saturday's parade the largest in the state, it's also the earliest, with festivities kicking off at 9 a.m. For complete event information, visit stpetepride.com.