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Tampa Bay Gay had a chance to ask some questions to Pride's Luke Blankenship and Fernando Chonqui. In this Exclusive Interview we get the scoop on this week events, who's performance was JUST ANNOUNCED, what events are sold out, what are the GLAMSTANDS & VIP? We also discuss what PRIDE means now more than ever as St Pete Pride recognizes STONEWALL 50 years later.
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HAPPY PRIDE! St Pete Pride starts this week and there is a full line-up of events and shows. Good news, a lot of the events are FREE that way everyone can show thier PRIDE and support. VIP and GLAMSTANDS tickets available for a more personalized experience. One of the events is already sold out!

Tampa Bay Gay's Editor, Dave Borman, had a chance to ask some questions to Executive Director, Luke Blankenship and Fernando Chonqui, St Pete Pride's Development Director. In this Exclusive Interview, Dave get's the scoop on PRIDE week events, who's performance was JUST ANNOUNCED, what is sold out, and what are the GLAMSTANDS & VIP? We also discuss what PRIDE means now more than ever as St Pete Pride recognizes STONEWALL 50 years later.

Aerial image of the St Pete Pride Parade
(Image: St Pete Pride)

Dave Borman- What's to be expected at this year's St Pete Pride? The Major Highlights and is anything "sold out"?

Fernando Chonqui and Luke Blankenship- This year is gearing up to be our best yet! Three big headliners between our Friday and Saturday concerts. A repeated, always welcomed, firework spectacular. A kick-off party along beautiful St. Pete Beach. A newly designed and thorough mobile app with all of the events, business directory, and information about St Pete Pride. And of course, the largest LGBT parade celebration in the state of Florida.

As of today (6/17), the Stonewall reception at the Museum of Fine Arts is the only thing that is sold out. We still have a few tickets left for the SP2 concert VIP viewing experience, as well as the Glamstands, and the newly announced, All Day VIP Viewing Experience at the Wells Fargo Main Stage entertainment on Saturday before and after the parade.

June 19-23, 2019

DB- Can you give us a little preview of the Kick-Off Party, Stonewall Reception, SP2 Concert, Night Parade and Street Festival.

FC/LB- What better way to kick-off pride that at a newly renovated resort along our beautiful St. Pete Beach? The Kick-Off party starts at 7PM (6/19) at the Sirata Beach Resort.

The Stonewall reception (6/20) is the perfect excuse to put on your nice gown and come celebrate Pride and art at the stunning Museum of Fine Arts. This year, we will have the "Art of Fashion" show. A fashion show like no other with a wide vision of the world of fashion.

The SP2 concert (6/21), headlined by Lisa Loeb, will also feature Jessica Real and Divine AF.

The Night Parade (6/22) will kick-off with the Annual TransPride March, culminate with a performance by VASSY and a firework show will immediately follow.

And last, but not least, a crowd favorite, the St Pete Pride Street Festival (6/23) showcasing over 250+ vendors on Central Avenue between 22nd and 29th Street.

Sirata Beach Resort - St Pete Pride Kick-off Party 6/19/19

DB- SP2 Concert featuring Lisa Loeb; can you tell me a little about the concert? (ins and outs, do's and don't's? VIP?)

FC/LB- The concert will be hosted by Alexis Mateo and will also feature Divine AF and Jessica Real. This concert is a fundraising event to assist various Tampa Bay community organizations. Doors to the North Straub Park will open at 6PM. There are still VIP viewing tickets available.

Do: bring mosquito spray, your VIP ticket (printed or on your phone) your best vocal chords, cash and your id, have fund and be kind to one another, download the St Pete Pride app.

Don't's: bring any drinks and or food, we have them on site. Expect to be able to buy tickets online, get them ahead of time. Try to get in before 6 PM, doors open right at 6.

Lisa Loeb - Headlining the SP2 Concert 6/21/2019

DB- Glam Stands and VIP; Can you share with us what these sections are, the pricing, what is included (the benefits), and what events are offering this?

FC/LB- VIP Viewing Tickets for the SP2 Concert (ft. Lisa Loeb) are $50 and include:
- Front of stage access for the entire concert
- Two complimentary premium drinks
- Lounge area with couches and additional seating
- Private bathrooms
- View of backstage

All day VIP Viewing Tickets for the Saturday Entertainment are $15 and include:
- Tickets include all-day access from 2pm - 11pm to front of stage viewing area at the Wells Fargo Main Stage. Including our Pre-Parade headliners Beth Sacks and After Parade Headliner, VASSY.

Glamstand Tickets are $85 and include:
- General VIP Glamstand Admission provides admission into the glamstand area. The area includes an open premium bar, bleacher seating and air conditioned bathrooms.
- Doors open at 5PM.

GLAMSTANDS designated seating area

DB- This year recognizes the 50th Year since the Stonewall Riots. A common question during PRIDE month is "What is PRIDE to you?" Do you think that we are in "similar times" or have we dramatically grown as an LGBTQ+ Community? Does our PRIDE still have similar meanings?

FC/LB- This is an excellent question. Have we made progress as a community? Absolutely! We recently celebrated the legalization of equal marriage in several countries around the world, Ecuador, my home country (fernando's), being one of them. Are we done? Absolutely not! It is important to celebrate the victories that we get from our advocacy, but we need to not forget that there are several countries where being a member of the LGBT community is illegal and often results in the death penalty. Even in the United States, there are states, and counties where members of our Trans family still face discrimination and/or do not have the same rights as Cisgender folks. I believe PRIDE does have that similar meaning of, "we are tired of inequality; we are here to fight for our rights." But, now, it also mean(s), "we are celebrating that every day we move a bit closer to equality."

DB- Rita Ora had to cancel her concert following the night parade (in addition to other shows in other cities) due to unforeseen circumstances. What is the plan for the After PRIDE Parade Celebration? Or is it a surprise?

FC/LB- Yes, that was a hard thing for us. We want to make sure everybody enjoys Pride at its most, so it is always hard when we have to say, "Hey we cannot deliver this promise because it goes beyond our control." However, we were able to find someone that will bring everybody to their feet and delivery an amazing show. We announced VASSY earlier today (6/17) and are super excited about to see what she has in store for us.

VASSY - Performing LIVE after the Pride Parade on Saturday 6/22/19

DB- Many people enjoy St Pete Pride and it brings a lot of visitors to the area. But St Pete Pride assists the community in so many ways throughout the year. What are some of those groups and organizations?

FC/LB- Absolutely! It is important for us to support the community. We do this for them, and we are always looking for ways to give back. Some of those organizations we support include Metro Inclusive Health, Empath Health / EPIC, the Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film & Art Festival, Suncoast Softball League, The Tampa Bay Bears, Aids Healthcare Foundation / Out of the Closet, Family Resources, St Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce / St. Pete Young Professionals.

We also put on an event during earlier in the year called, Taste of Pride. We invite some of the most recognized, LGBT friendly restaurants in the Tampa Bay Area to share their best tastings and ask the audience to vote for their favorite. The winner receives a grant from St Pete Pride for them to donate to the charity of their choice.

We hope to see everyone out for the St Pete PRIDE Celebration! For more info on St Pete Pride please visit:

Tampa Bay Gay is a PROUD Sponsor of St Pete Pride 2019

Interview/Written by:
Dave Borman - Tampa Bay Gay Editor


Tampa Bay Gay 2001-2019