Nearly 250,000 people are expected to attend St. Pete Pride over the weekend, following a ruling on Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage in every state.
"This is the perfect weekend to come out. It's the most important weekend of our lives," said Kevin Shah, who drove from Melbourne, Florida with his husband of three years, Paul. "I went online, and I said, 'Today, where is the pride?' We found the closest pride, which is here."
Shah and other parade goers on Saturday said the event could not have come at a better time, and it gave gay couples and the Tampa Bay community a reason to celebrate love.
"The best time to celebrate anything is when we achieve something, and for 50 years we've been trying to get gay marriage and equality for all of the LGBT community," said Shah, "When we finally get some big achievement, it is time to celebrate. It is time to grab that opportunity to be amongst loved ones and celebrate."
The St. Pete Pride Parade is the biggest LGBT parade in Florida, with many of its attendees coming from out of town.
"We have a friend coming in from New York, and he's coming down this weekend," said Donnie Jenkins.
The entire block of Central Avenue in St. Pete was filled with onlookers Saturday, watching lighted parade floats and street performers.
"You get to see the crazy people in their costumes, you get to relate to people and all-in-all, sometimes you find love down here," said Teresa Neri, who came to the Pride Parade for the first time. "It just supports something that I believe in full heartedly."
St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman served as an honorary grand marshal for the parade for a second year. Kriseman is the first St. Pete mayor to fill the role.
The city lined Central Avenue with festive, rainbow colored flags.
On Sunday, 300 vendors and exhibits will line Central Avenue. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.