St. Pete Pride weekend brings security, acceptance to downtown

One of the largest pride celebrations in the southeast is well underway in St. Petersburg.

Around a quarter million people are expected in the downtown area for St. Pete Pride. Police say, as thousands celebrate their diversity, security is top priority.

Its diversity and openness is why Scott Drown calls St. Pete home. He owns an LGBT-themed store in the city’s Historic Kenwood neighborhood, and as Florida’s largest gay pride celebration gets underway, he sees all of the colors of the rainbow - especially green.

“It’s our biggest money makers! So yes, we are excited,” Drown told FOX 13 News Friday.

Along the parade Bayshore parade route, and Historic Kenwood’s Central Avenue district, where there will be a street festival Sunday, many businesses say their profits, when compared to a normal weekend, will two-fold.

Celebrating acceptance and what makes people unique is at the for front of most minds – but also security.

 “We can’t lose sight that there are people who don’t want us to have this celebration,” said Chrys Bundy with St. Pete Pride

St. Petersburg police received a $162,000 grant for robotic camera towers, which will be strategically placed in areas where it will be hard for officers to see on the ground.

Controlled remotely, you can see how sharply they can zoom providing a watchful eye to track any problems.

“We may not be able to get an officer in quick enough. A camera can get in within seconds,” said St. Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway.

However, Holloway said there have been no threats of anti-LGBT violence. His force and Pride organizers aim to keep it that way.

“And you take in how many officers and people who are down there to protect us, this is probably one of the safest places to be in Pinellas County this weekend,” Bundy added.

Traffic will be heavy in St. Pete this weekend, especially around the parade route near Bayshore Saturday evening and on Central Avenue Sunday. For more information, visit