PHOTOS: St Pete Pride’s 2019 Street Festival

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride closed out its loudest and proudest year yet with the celebration’s annual Street Festival in the Grand Central District June 23.

Thousands browsed block after block of the beloved Gayborhood, enjoying entertainment and fantastic food surrounded by their community. The season’s largest community event truly delivered on St Pete Pride’s promise that there was something for everyone.

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12.27.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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It’s hard to believe the end of the year is here. It’s cliche to say, but when you live your life in two week cycles across two metropolitan areas—time flies. 2018 zoomed by in the blink of an eye.

Watermark did well in 2018. We saw an increase in sales, so thank you to the businesses and organizations that support us and help us to continue bringing the latest in LGBTQ news to our readers—and congratulations to Senior Account Manager Sam Callahan who had a stellar year. We also saw an increase in distributions sites and are now available at over 600 locations in Central Florida, Tampa Bay and surrounding areas.

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Two inspiring individuals prove leaving the corporate world can really pay off

By : Holly Kapherr Alejos
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When I called Victor Bokas for an interview, he was in the middle of working on a five-foot-square commissioned painting for an art collector in Spain. “I could have never done this had I stayed in the corporate world,” he said to me with an incredulous half-laugh. Since being let go from his position as a senior graphic designer at Tupperware Brands in 2015, he has devoted his full energy to his craft, and it’s made all the difference.

Mandy Keyes, owner of Community Cafe in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg, also left her corporate position as an interior designer to open a storefront on Central Avenue, the area’s main thoroughfare. When I walked into the cafe for our interview, she was in the thick of taking orders, clearing tables, fielding questions – all the things you’d expect from a small-business owner – popping up at intervals during our conversation to tend to her customers. At 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday, the place was packed. It’s working.

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PHOTOS: Come OUT St. Pete steps out for inaugural parade

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) held its inaugural parade in the Grand Central District during its second annual celebration Oct. 6.

The parade began at 10 a.m., heading west on Central Ave. from 22nd St. to 31st St. “Bringing a parade back to Grand Central is definitely something the community has voiced for some time,” COSP Co-Chair Jimmy Biascan shared ahead of the event. “It’s really cool to be able to give them what they want.”

COSP did exactly that – and Watermark was on hand to help celebrate. Check out some of our photos below.

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PHOTOS: St Pete Pride celebrates its 2018 Festival

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride held its latest and greatest street festival June 24 in the Grand Central District, the perfect close to the celebration’s 16th year.

Pride-goers browsed block after block of the area’s best eateries, advocates and entertainment throughout the district in style, and Watermark was on hand to help close out St Pete Pride 2018. You can check out some of our photos below.

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St. Petersburg celebrates sixteen years of Pride

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Pete Pride drew 220,000 people to St. Petersburg for its weekend-long celebration last year, around 40,000 short of the Sunshine City’s entire population.

As any event of its size would, particularly one so intrinsically tied to the community it serves, the organization’s 15th year faced its fair share of cheers and jeers. For the first time in its history, the St. Pete Pride parade was held in downtown St. Petersburg rather than in the city’s Grand Central District.

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4.19.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I haven’t always loved my job. Who loves anything all of the time? Even a parent who loves their child might want to slap them “into the middle of next week” occasionally. So I hear. I don’t have children, but I have adorable dogs that drive me crazy as much as they warm my heart.

I remember I was at a low point in 2004 with my career at Watermark. The repetition of an administrative assistant position with a local niche newspaper was taking its toll on me. I was young, stupid and combative. Up to this point, I never held a job for more than a year and a half and I was currently over two years at Watermark. I was starting to get antsy, so I looked for another job. Walt Disney World accepted me to their entertainment team as a production assistant and I took a few days off at Watermark to enroll in the Disney training class known as Traditions. The only thing left to do was put in my notice and leave.

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01.11.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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I have been working at Watermark for several years now, and words that I have pieced together into sentences and strung into readable stories have appeared hundreds of times in dozens and dozens of issues of this publication.

This is however the first time that I have been asked to write something that would appear on this page. It’s not an interview or a news article on an upcoming event. It’s words strung together from me to form an opinion. I wasn’t thrilled at first to be writing anything with my opinion in it.

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St. Pete Pride votes to hold 2018’s street festival in Grand Central District

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | St. Pete Pride has voted to hold 2018’s street festival in the Grand Central District following a presentation made to the Grand Central District Association (GCDA) in which they reviewed the cost analysis of holding the Pride staple downtown.

Of the six-person vote, which was held Jan. 9, five voted in favor of holding the event in the Grand Central District, while one meeting attendee abstained. It was held just four days after interim Executive Director Luke Blankenship gathered with the GCDA in the name of “dialogue and transparency,” he says.

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2016 was the worst year ever, and 2017 was the year we found our footing

By : Jeremy Williams
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In these very pages one year ago we proclaimed 2016 to be the worst year ever. It started off with so much promise and optimism, with the official passing of the torch as the former owner of Watermark turned the reins over to new owner Rick Claggett and Watermark Media became Watermark Publishing Group.

President Barack Obama was heading into the final year of his second term and everything seemed in place for another torch to be passed, that of the first black president passing the country off to the first female president.

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Watermark’s Top headlines of 2017

By : Watermark Staff
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2017 was a roller coaster of a year. Our highs were marked with great achievements and big celebrations, and our lows were filled with the passing of great LGBTQ leaders and fear-filled headlines we thought we would never read.

Below we look back on the top 5 LGBTQ headlines out of Central Florida, Tampa Bay, from the state of Florida and across the nation, and the world.

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From coast-to-coast, Central Florida and Tampa Bay celebrate Pride in the fall

By : Jeremy Williams
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Many people think of the month of June when someone says Pride, but thanks to National Coming Out Day and the state’s cooler temperatures, October is fast becoming Florida’s big Pride month.

Whether you are looking to march through the streets or spend a few hours in the park with your friends, October has got a Pride for you.

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