St. Pete PrideFest draws thousands of locals and tourists every June to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. This year, things have looked a little different, as Florida’s largest Pride event has gotten a makeover, reimagined as a month-long celebration, with four themed weeks to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
The festivities launched earlier this month with June 3rd's PrideFest Kickoff Reception, where attendees had the opportunity to savor appetizers, drink specials, and a beautiful sunset at the Sirata Beach Resort (below) on St. Pete Beach.
The first week was Outdoor Adventure Week, which took off out of the gate with a 5k Pride Run followed by a waterfront festival. The outdoor adventure theme is a perfect way to highlight favorite outdoor activities, of this city on Florida's gulf coast, not far from Tampa Bay.
Nicknamed “Sunshine City,” it has the distinciton of counting 768 uninterupted days of sunshine. With not a cloud in the sky, St. Pete's year-round perfect weather draws golfers and water adventure enthusiasts, who take full advantage of the area's kitesurfing, boating, paddle boarding, kayaking, and more. Others stay inland exploring the three wildland preserves close by: Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs, Weedon Island Preserve in north St. Pete, and Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in south St. Pete. For those looking for a vacation a little less envigorating, outdoor activities also include beach yoga, and dog park meet-ups.
From June 7th through the 13th, the theme was Family Week, which celebrated the LGBTQ+ community's diverse families with a little something for families of all make ups. Street performers, youth bands, and dance companies entertained and engaged kids of all ages. And the We Are Family fest took over St. Pete Pier this past weekend.
Art & Music Week hightlights the queer community's contribution to St Pete's vibrant art scene. A city with more than 600 murals and 30 museums (including the Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and the Chihuly Collection), St. Pete is a dream destination for art lovers. The Arts + Qulture signature event will take place June 19 on the grounds of The Factory, a new 8-acre, mixed-use space in the Warehouse Arts District. From main stage performances to wandering musicians and dancers, St Pete Pride has recruited LGBTQ+ talent from local cultural organizations and beyond to offer visitors an immersive and unforgettable experience. To honor Juneteenth, the program will also include a celebration of Black, Queer culture.
As a foodie paradise it makes sense that the final week is a Taste of PrideFest, honoring all the LGBTQ+ members of the culinary community. Restaurants citywide are participating in the Pride celebration with $5 specials. Food trucks will congregate at North Straub Park and South Straub Park on June 26th where there will also be picnics, music, fashion and festival vendors. The month's celebration of all things queer will end in a fireworks display that will cap off PrideFest in dramatic fashion.
Out Traveler contributor Barry Hoy is a Canadian transplanted to New York City, who writes about travel, food, and lifestyle and showcases great destinations, local experiences, and all of the must-see (#bucketlist) places around the world. If he’s not traveling, he’s already planning his next trip. Follow his adventures via Instagram @asianmapleleaf or on his travel blog at asianmapleleaf.com