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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As St. Petersburg celebrates Coming Out and LGBTQ film, a new Pride emerges

By : Samuel Johnson
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Two Bay Area LGBTQ festivals are joining forces this October. The Tampa-based Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is collaborating with the nascent St. Petersburg Come OUT St. Pete. The former has been a staple on the LGBTQ calendar for 28 years; and the latter is in its first year. Although 2017 marks the COSP inauguration, the apex of the celebration falls on Oct. 11: National Coming Out Day which honors the anniversary celebration of the National March on Washington D.C. for Lesbian and Gay Rights 29 years ago. For those of you wondering what gift is appropriate for each anniversary, here is the traditional gift suggestion: Orchids for 28 years and furniture for 29 years.

The partnership between the established TIGLFF and the newborn COSP is rooted in a palette of shared core values: celebration, reflection and education. But most of all it’s a good fit for the twin cities on the Bay.

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Pride Marches On: St. Pete Pride celebrates diversity in the ‘Burg with a year of firsts

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST. PETERSBURG – After all the controversy over the changes St. Pete Pride brought this year, it all seemed to be put aside for Pride weekend as thousands gathered along Bayshore Drive for the city’s first Pride parade downtown.

The Pride parade, the largest in the state, began with the first ever TransPride March along the parade route. More than 500 participants walked, starting from the end of the official parade route at Albert Whitted Park to the parade’s starting point at Vinoy Park, as watchers waved trans flags and shouted support to those walking.

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St. Pete Pride is spreading its wings, so here are sparkling details of all the big events for the weekend

By : Jeremy Williams
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It’s no secret that for the first time in its 15 years, the St. Pete Pride parade is moving from the Grand Central District and heading downtown, but that isn’t the only change to the schedule.

“There are always lots of events during Pride month and this is the first year that we actively went out to recruit events from all over Pinellas County,” St. Pete Pride Executive Director Eric Skains says. “We have an extensive list of events compiled from all this information we received, and they are all amazing events.”

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As St. Pete Pride celebrates its 15th Anniversary, we look back on how it all got started

By : Jeremy Williams
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It may surprise a lot of people outside of the Tampa Bay area, but St. Pete Pride is the largest Pride celebration in the state of Florida. They obtained that title in 2006 and continued to grow, welcoming more than 100,000 people in St. Petersburg the last weekend of June in 2012, then nearly a quarter of a million in 2015.

This year, St. Pete Pride continues to grow and expand with Pride splitting the parade from the street festival in the Grand Central District and moving the route to downtown St. Petersburg along Bayshore Drive. More than a dozen events will be happening in the days and weeks leading up to Pride weekend, this year happening June 23-25, and more people than ever before are expected to attend these events all over Pinellas County.

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