Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) is teaming up with a variety of local tourism partners – from the Dali Museum to Tampa International Airport – in recognition of ‘Pride in Paradise,’ Florida’s largest LGBT celebration, which takes place this Saturday in St. Pete’s Grand Central District.
VSPC will join the Dali, Tampa Airport and dozens of other local organizations that will have booths at the St. Pete Pride street parade, which is expected to draw some 80,000 attendees.
The event, which is in its 10th year, dwarfs similar gatherings in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, and presents local businesses and hospitality providers with an opportunity to have face-to-face interaction with LGBT parade-goers from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
“The LGBT community is an important part of the travel industry, and it’s vital for us to reach out to them and show our support,” said Janet Zink, Tampa International Airport’s director of communications.
Zink is also excited that Edelweiss Air, which began non-stop flights from Tampa to Zurich last month, will be joining the festivities. The Swiss airline has announced that it is flying over a group of high-profile LGBT media to cover the Street Parade as well as the other festivities that will take place over the weekend.
“It’s a great fit for us,” says Michael Trestl, Edelweiss Air Business Development Manager. “And with our new Zurich to Tampa non-stop, it makes sense for us to be here connecting with and showing our support for this very important market.”
Local business owners agree.
“Pride is fantastic for the area,” said Darren Connor, co-owner of The Queens Head Restaurant and Eurobar on Central Avenue in St. Pete, “and it’s amazing for the businesses, as well.”
Connor, whose business is hosting a pride-related film event this year, is especially fond of the parade. “It’s six hours of just craziness, but it’s a great day for all the businesses here,” he added.
Adding to the excitement of Pride’s 10th anniversary are recent local legislative changes supporting the LGBT community. The cities of Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Gulfport all passed domestic partnership registries, which allows unmarried couples – gay or heterosexual – legal rights.
Saturday’s festivities kick off with the Promenade parade at 9 a.m.
For complete event information, visit stpetepride.com.
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