ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The City of St. Petersburg has given the green light for the 2021 St. Pete Pride Festival to take place, but the event will look a bit different than in years past. One thing missing this year? The parade.
Mayor Rick Kriseman explains, while we have made great strides in fighting COVID-19, we are not out of the woods yet.
“Parades are difficult,” said Kriseman. “They are difficult to manage and it’s difficult to create that environment with a parade where people feel safe. “
Organizers of the event had to be innovative. There was not a St. Pete Pride event last year due to COVID-19, and the year before, the city hosted more than 265,000 people. Nathan Bruemmer is the president and director of the event.
“It was a challenge to spread out over space and time,” said Bruemmer. “And we are doing that by celebrating all month long through St. Pete Pride fest. “
Event organizers released a tentative 2021 St. Pete Pride schedule. Planned events include:
- Official Pride Flag Raising: 6/1 10 a.m. City Hall
- PrideFest Kickoff Reception: 6/3 6 p.m. Sirata Resort
- Pride Run St Pete 5K and Diva Dash: 6/5 7 a.m. Vinoy Park
- Pride OUTside: 6/5 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Vinoy Park
- We Are Family: 6/12 11 a.m. St. Pete Pier, North Straub Park, South Straub Park
- Stonewall VIP Reception: 6/18 The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art
- Arts + Qulture: 6/19 The Factory 11 a.m.
- Taste of PrideFest: 6/24-6/30 Various restaurants
- Pride Picnic & Fireworks: 6/29 North Straub Park, South Straub Park
Bruemmer knows attendance won’t be what it was in 2019, but he hopes private events coupled with those planned will help bring in people from all over.
“Right now we have limited attendance as the requirement for each of the event spaces based on where we sit right now with COVID,” said Bruemmer. “But that’s why we want and encourage all of our partners to hold events … and so while our attendance is not going to be 265,000, if hundreds of events are happening over every day in June, we will all be celebrating pride and diversity in our city. “
Debbie Safko owns Paciugo, a gelato company on Beach Dr in St. Petersburg. She is pleased the Pride events are back for 2021, but can’t help but be a bit disappointed about the parade. “I’m like, oh man, the parade is a lot of fun. We get a lot of really fun customers in here and it’s a great day. A lot of energy and obviously great for the business.,” said Safko, who says any boost in the bottom line will be a welcomed one. “We’ll take what we can get. Something is better than nothing. And I think it will be a lot of fun spreading it out over the month and a lot of activities. ”
Mayor Kriseman believes the way the event is structured will make it as enjoyable as it is safe.
“The way they have done this and they’ve gone about this in breaking it up and creating different locations, makes it much easier from a control standpoint,” said Mayor Kriseman. “And that’s why we have a lot more confidence that they are going to be able to do it right.