Pride, city agree to parade route along Bayshore

- For the first year since 2003, Central Avenue will not be filled with the sights and sounds of St. Pete's Pride Parade.

Moving the state’s biggest LGBTQ event isn’t without controversy, but Pride organizers say the move to Bayshore Drive will benefit everyone in the end.

"People were just crammed in, packed together, when it was along Central. And the second aspect is the overall cost of the event," said Pride Executive Director Eric Skains.

Many expressed displeasure with the break in tradition. One of the loudest critics of the move is Mayor Rick Kriseman, who threatened to pull the city's $45,000 donation toward the parade.

"This parade started in Grand Central. It was born there. It has grown up there," Mayor Kriseman said last week. 

The new plans, however, appear to have both sides coming to an agreement.

The 2017 parade, on Saturday, June 24, will move to the waterfront. But Friday’s block party and Sunday’s street festival will stay on familiar Central Avenue.

"Pride will still be fully funded and supported by the city of St. Petersburg, and we'll still be able to have a fantastic event," said Skains.

St. Pete resident Bill Kody is among those still unsettled with the change.

"Pride is going to be different this year," Kody said.

He says he will likely skip the parade.

"If you look up, there’s a rainbow flag above your head. If you look down, there’s rainbow steps all along here. These are up 365 days a year. Downtown, I don’t know if you'll find any," he said.

Regardless of the year-round feel, Pride's downtown parade - as well as Central Ave. festival - are sure to be heavily attended.  Last year, 220,000 people showed up.  For more on Pride 2017, visit https://www.stpetepride.com/en/2017.

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