Controversy forgotten as Pride parade takes new route

- On the streets of downtown St. Pete Saturday, it’s hard to imagine the drama that surrounded this year’s change of parade venue. That controversy was all but forgotten by rows of people lined the parade route on Bayshore.

More than 30,000 people were at the waterfront – instead of the Central Avenue District – for Saturday’s Pride Parade. St. Pete’s Mayor Rick Kriseman and Congressman Charlie Crist made appearances at Saturday’s Pride Parade – expressing their continued support for the LGBTQ community.  

Everyone seemed to like the change. The event definitely a fresh feel – not to mention more shade.

Along with a new parade route, a new parade feature debuted this year. The parade began with a Trans Pride March – on the heels of a year filled with controversy, but more importantly, increased awareness of gender identity issues.

After that, floats, costumes, beads, fire trucks, and most of all – pride.

“It’s about coming together with all the people that are like you. A lot of times you think you're the only person in the area that is LGBT but coming out, seeing all these people, it’s pretty cool. It’s a humbling experience,” parade-goer Peach Rian told FOX 13 News.

The atmosphere was thick with love - so-much-so, St. Pete police reported there were zero arrests at the event.

Amidst the rainbow flags and colorful costumes were reminders of the lives lost just more than one year ago in the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. At an event like Pride, where differences are celebrated, Pulse may always be an event that makes us all feel the same.

Pride continues on Sunday with the street festival back in a familiar place - on Central Avenue. 50,000 people are expected there from 9 in the morning until 4.

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