we be mesmerized with LARGER Sponsors,
LARGER Venues, and Larger Acts at this year's St. Pete PRIDE?
Or will history repeat itself?
(*Updated info below
New Year! This is the first From the Editor of 2017! There
is a lot that has already happened in 2017. With all of these
changes it is important to remember that we should stick together
in the LGBTQ community and not allow outside influences to shake
our foundations. UNITED We Are A STRONG LGBTQ Presence.
PRIDE season is fast approaching; I wanted to discuss this topic
especially with the recent changes. Let me briefly go back over
a decade and a half ago and what I can recall. The
largest PRIDE celebration in Florida was located right here in
TAMPA (2nd Largest in the Southeast). Yes that is right, years
before St. Pete's Event was even a concept; Tampa Bay PRIDE was
the BIGGEST celebration hands down. The Board and Directors of
the group (in its final year) had so many mesmerized with
LARGER Sponsors, LARGER Venues, and Larger Acts. It seems like
they lost contact with the local community that had started it
all for them.
"A few people began raising questions about the producing organization's
governance and direction…" "…the festival's relative lack of emphasis
on politics and community-building, the original purpose of gay
pride celebrations here and across the country." This was from
a great article in Creative Loafing (http://www.cltampa.com/news-views/article/20714397/the-rise-and-fall-of-tampa-bay-pride).
That was the last year for Tampa Bay PRIDE; they ended upside
down in about $300K in bills and allegations of financial improprieties.
Fast forward to this year's announcement from St. Pete's Mayor
Rick Kriseman. St. Petersburg has pulled $45,000 in funding from
St. Pete Pride in the Historic Kenwood District because of the
move*. Recent article in Watermark: ( http://www.watermarkonline.com/2017/01/24/downtown-funds-st-petersburg-mayor-rick-kriseman-pulls-city-funding-st-pete-pride-relocation-announcement/
The Kenwood District is where St. Pete Pride formed in the dust
of a collapsed Tampa Bay PRIDE. I recently watched an interview
on BayNews9 with one of the original founding fathers of St. Pete
Pride; he, like many, shared their concerns about the move. The
community and local business leaders "Did Not" want this move,
they wanted to keep it in the community it started in!
Pride Board voted and made the decision to move the (Parade*)
event to the waterfront for 2017. Discussion over! The $45K in
City funding GONE; at the start of St. Pete Pride 2017 with a
financial gap of $45,000 (money used for additional security/safety)*.
There is a definite disconnect from the residents and small business
community. Tampa Bay Gay has sponsored LGBTQ (& friendly) events
for 15 years; many of those years with St. Pete Pride. Two years
ago, I received this response from Eric Skains in regards to sponsoring
St. Pete Pride. "Tampa Bay Gay is currently not something we would
be able to invest it (in)…" The email goes on to talk about meeting
certain criteria, "…how does it (Tampa Bay Gay) increase our income.(?)
Unfortunately, we currently would not purchase advertising on
Tampa Bay Gay; therefore it would not meet that criteria."
We were offered "Press Passes" so we could cover the events; I
agreed, and never heard back from Eric again (after numerous emails
and 2 years of trying). I moved on; seeing it as "Bigger Sponsorship"
equals more dollars, regardless of representing the local LGBTQ
Last year, when I walked the streets in St. Pete I noticed at
least eight to ten empty booths (I even took pictures). It appeared
they were not SOLD OUT. As a visitor, it seemed to be easy to
move around the streets, people were not stepping all over each
other. It felt very secure and protection with the City's provided
security during the Street Festival (including huge dump trucks
blocking every street).
The Night Parade was just like any other Pride celebration parade,
fun and secure. I think that the small town feel was one of the
"gems" of the St. Pete Pride. I am sure any issues could have
been discussed and worked out if given the opportunity. Was a
move really necessary when the community is crying out "NO"? That
community is where PRIDE started!
I think that we all want to see this be a sucess, but I hope that
this decision to move Pride does not come back to bite them. It
was voted on by the Board and now it is happening, regardless
of the public outcry against it (kind of like our election… YIKES!).
St. Pete Pride will move downtown to a bigger area.
question to you; "Will we will be mesmerized with LARGER Sponsors,
LARGER Venues, and Larger Acts at this year's event? Or will history
I hope that you enjoyed this month's letter sorry about the length
(I am passionate about the local LBGTQ and friendly community
and sometimes I rant). Please send your questions and comments
on the website and any topic you may like. Please send me some
feedback. Tell us what you think, it does not have to be anything
to do with this topic. I might even reply to your email in the
next From the Editor. Thanks for taking the time out to
read what I have to say.
Tampa Bay Gay
St. Pete Pride 2/13/2017
"Change for this year's event We'll soon be rolling out the
final details of this year's upcoming Pride celebration. We'll
make this announcement at our Kick Off event in April.
Until then, know these facts..
The majority of the weekend's events will remain in Grand Central,
including the Street Festival!
The final weekend of events will include input from the City of
St. Petersburg, Grand Central Business District, and the St Pete
Pride planning team.
The City of St. Petersburg will continue to fully fund the event!
This is a discussion that began in January, 2016 with community
groups and members.
Only the Pride Parade will relocate to downtown St. Pete. Know
We'll be working to ensure easy in and out access to attendees.
After parties will run from downtown St. Pete to Grand Central.
The Pride Parade will start one hour earlier.
Events will take place during the parks prior to the start of