St. Pete Pride 2014 to feature night parade

By : Steve Blanchard
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There are a lot of changes coming to St. Pete Pride in 2014, and it’s in an effort to boost attendance, make festival-goers more comfortable and spread Pride throughout the last weekend in June.

The most notable change affects the parade, which shifts to an evening event on Saturday, June 28. The annual festival will continue the celebration on Sunday, June 30, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

“Parade goers will no longer have to compete for viewing space with exhibitor’s tents, making it easier to view the parade,” St. Pete Pride executive director Eric Skains said in a press release. “This allows for additional viewing spaces and we anticipate more elaborate parade entries as organizations will have more time to decorate and build their entry.”

The change is in direct response to attendees who have consistently asked for a cooler parade experience. Moving it to night removes the heat from the sun from the equation while still staying warm enough to enjoy an outdoor activity. The parade route will remain the same as in years past, beginning across from Georgie’s Alibi, winding through Kenwood and then turning east on Central Avenue.

And those entries will look totally different in 2014 than in years past because St. Pete Pride encourages all participants to incorporate lights into their floats, which makes sense since the parade begins at sundown. According to Skains, the change will mean St. Pete Pride is home to the only night Pride parade in the state of Florida.

“We know this is a new challenge for floats in the parade and we’re going to hold several workshops in the new year as a way of offering tips on how to decorate so your entry can be the most visible,” Skains said. “We’ll announce those workshops on StPetePride.com.”

With the parade separated from the street festival, vendors will feel much less crowded on Sunday and those wanting to see what organizations support Pride and the LGBT community won’t have to worry about crossing a parade route or competing with floats to get the information they want.

“We’ve added features to the street festival for 2014,” Skains explained. “The new Street Colour Fest will have a Family Zone featuring rides and games, a Health Wellness Zone and live music throughout the day.”

There will also be a Trans Pride March and a Womyn’s March down Central Avenue that will incorporate colorful celebration powder.

“Celebration Colour Powder has been used throughout the world to celebrate diversity and special occasions,” Skains said. “We hope this becomes a new tradition that keeps St. Pete Pride just as unique as the City of St. Petersburg.”

The colorful powder, Skains added, is washable from all clothing and will not stain the concrete on Central Avenue.

Next year will mark St. Pete Pride’s 12th year, and splitting the parade and the street festival into two separate events on two different days will help grow the annual event into a destination event for locals and visitors, Skains said. He also anticipates the change will create a stronger impact on the economy of Tampa Bay.

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