TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – St. Pete Pride has been helping local businesses boom this week.
Corresponding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the 17th annual St. Pete Pride celebration reflects the growth of gay rights in Florida.
Five days of events culminating in the TransPride March, the Tech Data St. Pete Pride Parade Saturday night along the waterfront as well as a street festival with 230 vendors in the Grand Central District on Sunday, has earned the title of the largest LGBT Pride Celebration in the state, and the second largest in the Southeast, just behind Atlanta.
More than 250,000 peopleare expected to attend the week’s St. Pete Pride events and half of the audience is from out of town, according to a 2016 impact study.
St. Pete Pride executive director Luke Blankenship says the influx of business from those large numbers is expected to create more than $22 million in economic impacts in the Sunshine City.
In research conducted by Research Data Services, Inc.. which is not affiliated with St. Pete Pride, data showed that $22,321,700 was brought into St. Petersburg by the parade.
When the event first began in 2003, the size of the audience was only one 25th of what it is today.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman spoke about the economic impact of the week’s festivities on Friday.
“From raising the Pride Flag over City Hall to the Parade to the Pride Street Festival – as well as many other events – this is a time when the City of St. Petersburg shines like a welcoming beacon across America and around the world,” Kriseman said in a statement. “The Pride celebration reflects the values of this city, and that is the most important thing. That it brings thousands and thousands of people here and millions of dollars to our city and our region is also important, and I hope those visiting our city will go to our great restaurants, breweries, and visit our art galleries and museums while they’re here.”