Pride kicks off with new parade location

- We're just hours away from the always colorful St. Pete Pride parade.

Downtown will be packed on Saturday - as the parade has a new route this year along the waterfront.

There will certainly be a bit of a different feel at this year's parade, as the parade marches down Bayshore rather than Central.

Some are all for it. Others think this location is a mistake.

More than 200,000 people will wave, cheer, and celebrate along St. Pete's Bayshore Drive Saturday night, but Clay Bradley won't be one of them.

“I think a big part of is - it started [on Central] and we have a close association with it,” Clay Bradley told us. “I don't think it's as natural or organic as it is here.”

St. Pete Pride festivities were born on Central Avenue, and would blossom into the largest gay pride event in the southeast.

But others see the new downtown parade route as a welcome change.

“I can understand tradition but I think something new is good change,” Baily Smith said.

The event's executive director, Eric Skains says the views are just one aspect of the improvements. Others include cost savings and more room for spectators – as well as an increased focus on security.

“Excited to see what it how it all comes together. We've spent a whole year into this new location,” Skains said. “We feel confident it’s going to be a great event for everybody and there's not going to be any issues”

For the first time, the parade will kick off with a TransPride March - one of only a few of its kind in the country. Things get rolling around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, with fireworks over the water at blasting off 9:45.

As for the folks upset about the change, Central Avenue will take center stage on Sunday, with the Pride Festival there from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

For more information about Pride festivities, visit https://www.stpetepride.com/en.

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