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St. Pete plans to make the sun rise in downtown during the dead of night

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The St. Pete marketing team will create a simulated sunrise at night throughout this weekend beginning Friday night at sunset.

As a launch for its “You are my sunshine” marketing effort, a simulated sun will rise up the Priatek Tower at the corner of Central Avenue and Third Street.

The simulation will use 100,000 lumens and span 15,000 square feet. The “sunrise” will be powered by the people as residents take to Twitter and Facebook to share positive messages and experiences of their city.

To make the sun rise in the black of night, the marketing team is asking residents to use the hashtag #SunshineStPete on Facebook and Twitter. The messages will be shown in lights on the side of the Priatek Tower throughout the weekend.

The city launched a new section on its website for the “You Are My Sunshine” effort. It features video stories from residents “using their very personal sunshine and experiences.”

The videos feature memories of the Dali Museum, USF St. Pete, craft breweries and another from C1 Bank, which is headquartered in downtown.

Scrolling down the page, viewers will see, line-by-line, lyrics from the timeless nursery rhyme “You Are My Sunshine.”

The event coincides with a bustling weekend in downtown St. Pete that includes Free Museum Day and the St. Pete Food and Wine Festival.

Priatek Tower is the tallest building in St. Pete. It was formerly named One Progress Plaza and Bank of America Tower.

St. Pete Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin will be at the opening night of the three-night event Friday evening from 9 to 9:30.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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