In the wake of a landmark victory this week for gay rights, excitement and anticipation is running high for this year's St. Pete Pride celebration.
"This decision gives our celebration a whole new meaning," said Kori Stevens, Entertainment Director for St. Pete Pride, minutes after the Supreme Court ruling. "We have the support of the courts and what seems to be the country in this decision about gay marriage and it's really going to make our festival more exciting and relevant for us, our allies and supporters."
On Wednesday, in a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a federal law, and allowed legally married gay men and women to claim the same federal benefits available to opposite-sex married couples. The court also dismissed an appeal regarding Proposition 8, clearing the way once again for same-sex marriage in the state of California.
Stevens said the 11th annual Gay Pride celebration, the largest pride event in the state of Florida, also will celebrate another milestone: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will ride in Saturday's pride parade, a first for a sitting Tampa mayor.
"It's amazing," added Stevens. "It's not often something like this happens. When you're in a political position and you show up it's a smart move, whether you believe in gay rights or not. We're very excited."
Stevens said this year's celebration focuses on local talent. About 50 entertainers, including Karmic Tattoo, Halcyon and The Trail Band, will perform during Saturday's street party. A fashion show, art show and parade also are planned.
"We have a who's who of talent and vendors," Stevens added. "(The street festival) is always a wonderful way to get the community and supporters together to celebrate with us, support local businesses and have fun."
ST. PETE PRIDE EVENTS SCHEDULE
Macy's Tyrone Square celebrates Pride + Joy with an evening of fashion, fun and surprises with host Robbie Laughlin, E! News correspondent; 5:30 p.m.; Macy's Tyrone Square, Level One, Men's Department, 6901 22nd Ave N., St. Petersburg; event includes food, beer wine and music; free (donate $10 to St. Pete Pride and receive a $10 Macy's gift card)
The 27-82 Concert, a fundraiser benefiting St. Pete Pride Community Grants Program, features performances by Uh Huh Her and Daphne Willis; 7:30 p.m.; State Theater, 687 Central Ave St. Petersburg; $35 door
St. Pete Pride Promenade with more than 100 colorful floats, performers, entertainment and more begins at 9 a.m. at Georgie's Alibi, 3100 Third Ave. N., down Central Avenue, then east to 21st Street.
St. Pete Pride Street Festival with dozens of vendors, arts and crafts, entertainment, food and shopping along the Grand Central District in St. Petersburg, Central Avenue between 21st and 29th streets; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; free
10th Annual Pride Pool Party with cocktails and mingling; noon; Flamingo Resort, 4601 34th St. S., St. Petersburg