ABOVE: (L-R) Come OUT St. Pete representatives and grand marshals Brian Longstreth, Claire Elisan, Jim Woodfield, Cole Foust, Jayson Clancey, Chris Jones, Bill Kody and Chuck Henson at Metro’s LGBTQ Welcome Center Sept. 17. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.
Representatives from Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) gathered at Metro’s LGBTQ Welcome Center Sept. 17 to announce their first ever grand marshals for the organization’s upcoming parade.
Three grand marshals were chosen for the celebration: Cole Foust, Metro Inclusive Health’s LGBTQ Division Manager; Claire Elisan, CEO of the nonprofit Project No Labels and Chuck Henson, longtime Spectrum News 9 traffic expert and news anchor. Each grand marshal is intrinsically tied to their support of Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community.
“The St. Pete LGBTQ community passionately shows an abundance of PRIDE year-round,” COSP organizers have shared. “They’ve expressed their desire to have a daytime parade during a cooler month on Central Avenue. This provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate National Coming OUT Day in October. We’re so grateful for our community’s support and sponsorship which makes it possible for us to do this for them.”
The second annual procession is currently scheduled for Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. until noon during the third annual COSP. It will begin at 20th St. and head west on Central Ave, featuring a custom rainbow flag that will be unfurled along the route. Miss Come Out St. Pete Victoria Michaels is scheduled to kick off the festivities with attendees along with the celebration’s aforementioned grand marshals.
The parade will immediately be followed by the COSP street festival on Central Ave., held between 22nd St. and 31st St. Local small businesses and vendors will offer their goods and services amidst live entertainment and appearances by community advocates and allies. For more information or to register for the parade or festival, visit ComeOutStPete.org.