Thousands attend 17th annual pride parade in St. Pete

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Thousands of people lined downtown streets for the St. Petersburg Pride Parade on Saturday. Sequins and feathers were on full display as the city celebrated its 17th year hosting the festival.

Up to a quarter of a million people were expected to come together to celebrate their diversity.

“It’s very happy," said festival attendee Toni Garcia. "Strangers are giving each other hugs,  kisses."

Thousands of people lined both sides of the street on Bayshore Drive to watch the floats. More than 7,500 marchers -- decked out in costumes, sequins and feathers -- are each part of one of the 170 organizations who participated in the parade.

“It took me about six hours to make," said Marta Portillo of her costume. "I created it myself. I ordered the feathers. It was a fun project to make. I added accessories and then just elaborated.”

One of the festival’s big draws is the local food, which meant a boost for area businesses and the over 200 food vendors.

“This festival means a lot to the community. Come out and support and we just hope you accept everybody for who they are,” Garcia said.

A street festival is planned for Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Grand Central District, where organizers are expecting roughly 50,000 people.