It’s Pride weekend!!!!
For many – an estimated 250,000 people over the course of the weekend – that’s great news. For some – namely those few who live on Central Avenue in the Grand Central District – it can be fun, but also a pain in the butt.
For the folks in the first group, here’s the deets on what to expect for Saturday evening’s main event.
More than 150 organizations and businesses support and celebrate the LGBT community locally. With its massive attendance, it’s the largest Pride Parade in Florida.
The parade route was extended one block this year due to huge turnout last year and an even larger crowd expected this year. It now runs from 22 Street to 27 Street along Central Avenue.
Festivities start at 5:00 and end at 10:00, but it’s St. Pete – there will be after parties all over the place.
The parade itself begins at sunset.
Parking is a nightmare. If you must drive consider the fact that cars will be filling neighborhood streets for blocks. Paid lots are available near Tropicana Field on 16 Avenue.
The Central Avenue Beach Trolley operated by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will still be operating. The route will be detoured to First Avenues North and South. Pride organizers recommend using the bus to get to the parade or parking remotely and using PSTA to get to the block party zone.
Turnout for the Friday night concert featuring Glee’s Alex Newell saw parking over flowing well into the Kenwood neighborhood and the parade crowd is expected to be much larger.
Alcohol is prohibited unless its consumed in an approved location like a bar or restaurant. The city’s open container laws still apply. Certainly there will be plenty of red solo cups though, we’re sure.
St. Pete Pride’s website also lists inline skates as a no-no at the parade. This seems an odd thing to ban unless, of course, it’s 1982 or you’re poking fun at gay stereotypes.
Other do-not bring items include laser pointers, radios, skateboards and scooters, fireworks, weapons or guns and animals.
People start showing up to grab a good spot along the block party zone portion of the parade route. Reserved seating is available in the “Glamstand” for either $25 or $50 a ticket. The lower price point includes reserved seating and access to a cash bar and port-o-potty (gross.) The $50 ticket includes reserved seating, “conditioned” restrooms (not port-o-potties) and $20 worth of food and drink tickets. Those tickets are no longer available online, however.
The Glamstand is located on the North side of Central Avenue at 26 Street.