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Tampa Pride History and Events

History & Events to Celebrate Tampa Pride
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Last year, Tampa Pride drew many back to the streets of Ybor City as it hosted the first post-COVID national pride event. After a year of isolation, the Tampa Pride Parade and Festival made a comeback with a mix of performances, floats, numerous eclectic vendors, and various organizations – all united in celebration of the GaYBORhood’s diversity and pride. 

Dubbed the “fun pride,” Tampa Pride will return this 2022 with even more reasons to celebrate. Continue reading to learn how Tampa Pride came to be and why you don’t want to miss the festivities this year.

History Of Tampa Pride

Tampa Pride started in 1982 when friends got together for a low-key gathering on the Hillsborough River’s banks. The informal party evolved to various shows, celebrity appearances, and a parade. 

In 2015, LGBT festivities returned to the streets of Tampa as the inaugural Pride festival was made possible by the city’s generous donation of more than $30,000. The 2022 Tampa Pride Diversity Festival and Parade, now in its seventh year, is expected to draw over 60,000 people. This year’s attendees will enjoy 40,000 square feet of outdoor facilities in the Cuban’s Club courtyard, food truck alley, artisan’s festival, vendor’s festival, and Health and Wellness Fair (HCC).

Tampa Pride Milestones & Timeline

  • 2015: After more than 14 years, Pride came back to Tampa in 2015 with the help of the city’s generous donation of $30,000.
  • 2016: RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Alexis Mateo won Miss Tampa Pride.
  • 2017: Breakthrough artist Steve Grand graced the stage with a surprise performance.
  • 2018: Tampa Pride welcomed diverse board and director volunteers, including a doctor, business people, food director, community pastor, CPA, and a straight couple.
  • 2019: Tampa received a perfect 100 score in the Human Rights Campaign Municipality Index for the first time.
  • 2021: Tampa Pride was the first pride march in the United States since the pandemic began in 2020 and the first parade in Tampa in 16 months. The Diversity Parade was streamed live on ABC Action News and 43 ABC affiliate stations around the country, reaching nearly 15 million people.

Tampa Pride’s Mission

The mission of Tampa Pride is to rally for diversity and inclusion through a festival that celebrates local and national talents. The parade’s ultimate goal is to celebrate the community and spread awareness about the LGBTQ+ population. 

Ways To Show Your Pride

While there are many ways to celebrate Pride, here are some activities you can participate in this year:

  • Learn the history of your state’s Pride: No matter how you celebrate Pride, understanding its history will give you an in-depth understanding and appreciation of the celebration and its beginnings in LGBT+ ballroom culture.
  • Hang Pride over your doorsteps: Want to display your support for Pride? Dress up your home with Pride-themed decorations. Display a rainbow flag on your front yard and windows, or create a personalized sign to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Attend a Pride parade: Nothing beats experiencing a Pride parade firsthand. Pride parades like Tampa Pride provide insight into how a community supports and empowers the LGBTQ+ community. These celebrations offer numerous opportunities to learn – not to mention, it’s loads of fun!

Tampa Pride Event Calendar

Kick off Tampa Pride weekend with these popular events and projects. Whether you’re in the mood to get crafty or go dancing, you can expect a lot of fun activities during Tampa Pride. Tampa Pride will return to the streets on March 26 for a full day of events for the entire community, including:

The Tampa Pride 2022 Street Festival

11:00 a.m.: This year, an Arts & Crafts Show, Community Health Fair, and Entrepreneurs Area will be part of the Tampa Pride Street Festival. The Tampa Bay Pride Band and guest speakers will kick off the celebration at 10:45 a.m., followed by highlighted performances. Participants can explore local wares in the vendor area, enjoy local cuisine in the food alley, and showcase their creative side in the arts & crafts section.

The Tampa Pride 2022 Diversity Parade

4:00 p.m.: The Tampa Pride Diversity Parade returns with grander and more spectacular floats this year. The much-anticipated spectacle will pass through Ybor City, also known as the GaYBOR District. 

The Pride Concert At Night: The Tampa Pride After Party

7:00 p.m.: Tampa Pride wouldn’t be complete without some dancing. The celebration continues indoors with a free Pride at Night Concert featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Aja Labeija and Kandy Muse, several local and national artists, and international DJ Matt Suave.

Projects 

​​Tampa Pride isn’t only about festivities and having fun. The organization also believes in giving back and investing for the future through education by providing financial assistance to deserving members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Announced during this year’s launch, the Tampa Pride Foundation Scholarship Fund aims to provide scholarships to worthy individuals working in the community. This project will significantly support advocates pursuing their education with financial assistance for college or technical school fees. The program also boosts student morale and creates a nurturing space for higher learning.

Conclusion

Tampa Pride is on its way to becoming one of the country’s hallmark Pride events. The city welcomes everyone to come and celebrate Pride, Tampa Bay-style. Thousands of people will attend this year’s events to enjoy the best of what Tampa has to offer, including local and national artists, a variety of cuisine, floats, and festivities – all in the spirit of honoring diversity and community.

Check our our complete travel guide to gay Tampa Bay.


***Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She is the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization, and CEO of OUTCOAST, an online marketing and concierge platform marketing the Gulf Coast as an LGBTQ-inclusive place to VISIT, CELEBRATE, and LIVE.

Rachel is also an avid event photographer and has captured photos for LGBT organizations around the world, including the IGLTA, NGLCC, NLGJA, and Out & Equal.


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