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Tens of thousands attend St. Pete Pride’s largest parade ever

More than 300,000 people were expected to attend weekend Pride events in the city.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tens of thousands of people attended this year’s St. Pete Pride Parade – which returned after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With more than 175 floats and groups, organizers labeled it the largest parade in the event’s 20-year history.

And, that’s saying something. St. Pete Pride has ballooned into one of the largest Pride events in the United States and the biggest in Florida. More than 300,000 people are estimated to be attending weekend Pride events in the city.

The rainbow flag is flying proudly over city hall.

Both leading Democratic gubernatorial candidates attended in person. Charlie Crist held a rainbow sign that said “Say Gay" and Nikki Fried carried a rainbow flag.

Some parade attendees carried signs with references to the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion, while others, like Crist, had references to the Parental Rights in Education law – dubbed “don’t say gay” by critics.

Most attendees had a simple unifying message about spreading love. They wore rainbow-themed apparel. Many offered up “free hugs” to anyone who needed one.

The very few anti-Pride protesters were outnumbered by crowds of Pride-goers promoting compassion and love for all.

The parade kicked off at 4 p.m. at Vinoy Park. Attendees braved the heat along Bayshore Drive to watch the floats pass by on their journey to Albert Whitted Park.

One of those floats was the 10 Tampa Bay float, which returned for another year. If you haven’t yet seen our 30-minute Pride Month special, “Proud to be in the Bay,” you can watch it by downloading the free 10 Tampa Bay app for Roku and Fire TV.

A Parade Festival opened up about two hours before the start of the parade, offering food, drinks and music in North Straub Park. At 7 p.m., organizers say South Straub Park was turned into “a women and non-binary pop-up nightclub.”

The free Pride in Grand Central Street Carnival will be open Sunday – featuring entertainers, food vendors and carnival games. It runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    

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