Local leaders, Lisa Loeb strengthen St Pete Pride

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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“Florida’s largest Pride celebration belongs to everyone in St. Petersburg,” St Pete Pride President Chrys Bundy says ahead of the 17th annual St Pete Pride. It’s the result of year-round dedication from LGBTQ community members, advocates and allies.

That was evident with last year’s successful Sweet 16, which welcomed 250,000 attendees over Pride weekend—around 15,000 shy of St. Petersburg’s entire estimated population. It was a feat that longtime LGBTQ ally and Pride supporter St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman welcomes yet again.

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St Pete Pride announces VASSY as replacement headliner

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride has announced that VASSY will replace Rita Ora as the inaugural After Parade Concert headliner on Saturday, June 22.

VASSY is a multi-platinum, award-winning international recording artist and songwriter, St Pete Pride shared June 17. She replaces British pop singer Ora, whose cancellation was announced June 8.

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Rita Ora cancels St Pete Pride performance

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride announced June 8 that entertainer Rita Ora has canceled all upcoming tour dates, including her scheduled St Pete Pride performance Saturday, June 22.

Known for hits like “Your Song” and “For You” from “Fifty Shades Freed,” the British singer was scheduled to headline St Pete Pride’s inaugural After Parade Concert. While the concert was free, VIP tickets including options for a meet and greet with Ora were available for purchase.

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St Pete Pride 2019 welcomes Lisa Loeb, Rita Ora

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride announced April 24 that entertainers Lisa Loeb and Rita Ora will headline concerts for the organization’s 17th annual celebration in June.

Loeb is a singer-songwriter who began her career with the platinum-selling hit “Stay (I Missed You)” from “Reality Bites.” Other singles include “Do You Sleep” and “Let’s Forget about It,” which she’s sure to perform as she headlines the organization’s SP2 Concert June 21 from 7-10 p.m.

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PHOTOS: St Pete Pride hosts Taste of Pride 2019

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Food, drink and art enthusiasts gathered March 2 at the historic Coliseum for St Pete Pride’s annual Taste of Pride.

Celebrants were treated to sweet and savory samplings from nearly 20 of Tampa Bay’s favorite restaurants, breweries, catering companies. Taste participants included Dr. BBQ, Flamingo Resort, Iberian Rooster, Old Key West Bar & Grill, Orange Blossom Catering, Punky’s Bar & Grill and The Queenshead and more.

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Luke Blankenship: St Pete Pride Executive Director

By : Scion Crowder
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Scion Crowder

Luke Blankenship started college wanting to work in LGBTQ advocacy, and shortly after found himself running the largest Pride organization in the state of Florida: St Pete Pride.

Luke was named executive director (ED) in May, making him the youngest ED of a Pride organization in the country. He joined St Pete Pride five years ago as a general volunteer and since then worked as logistics coordinator, parade director, development director and now ED. He oversees the day-to-day operations in collaboration with the board of directors and oversees sponsorships, financial strategy, event planning, magazine production, the social media presence and maintains local government and city relations. Luke is constantly working towards becoming a better person and ED. He may be young but he is continuing to educate himself by attending leadership seminars and is currently in the process of becoming a certified nonprofit ED.

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St Pete Pride announces new leadership

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Following its successful 16th year, St Pete Pride announced Nov. 19 that the organization’s board president, vice president and secretary would transition and that its treasurer had been re-elected.

“St Pete Pride voted in new leadership, including three newly-elected officers from various backgrounds,” the organization shared, highlighting Chrys Bundy-Brennan’s election as president. Bundy-Brennan follows Scion Crowder’s four-year term which oversaw St Pete Pride’s largest period of growth.

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PHOTOS: St. Pete Pride parties on the rooftop at the Kimpton Hotel Zamora

By : Jake Stevens
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St. Petersburg | St. Pete Pride kicked off its 16th year of festivities on top of the Kimpton Hotel Zamora at St. Pete Beach June 21.

Pride-goers drank and danced the night away against panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Intercoastal Waterway, and Watermark was on hand to help celebrate. You can check out some of our photos below.

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PHOTOS: St. Petersburg raises Pride Flag for fifth year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | The city of St. Petersburg once again shared its commitment to the LGBTQ community by raising the Pride flag above City Hall June 21.

Community leaders and advocates gathered for the short ceremony, led by Mayor Rick Kriseman. “This is the fifth time that we have raised the rainbow flag above City Hall,” the mayor began, “and each time  that we have done so has been special.”

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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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Police investigating homophobic threats made against St. Pete Pride

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The St. Petersburg Police Department is investigating threats made against this weekend’s St. Pete Pride Festival and its attendees.

The threats were allegedly made on social media by a Facebook user listed as Jimmy Hutmaster. Authorities were alerted immediately by area local Ryan Menke, Tampa Bay’s ABC affiliate reported June 20.

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St. Pete Pride names Luke Blankenship as new executive director

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | St. Pete Pride announced via press release May 16 that Luke Blankenship will serve as the organization’s new executive director following his role as interim executive director.

“Following an extensive nation-wide search, where over 60 resumes were considered, Luke Blankenship has been named as the Executive Director of St Pete Pride, Inc.,” the organization announced, detailing the hiring process which began in January.

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