Latin pop artist John Gascot is organizing Pinellas Park’s first gay Pride parade, set for June 26

Gascot’s studio resides in Pinellas Park’s Pinellas Arts Village.

click to enlarge 'Love Outside the Lines' by John Gascot - c/o/ John Gascot
c/o/ John Gascot
'Love Outside the Lines' by John Gascot

We’re used to Latin pop artist John Gascot host an annual Pride-themed art show at a St. Petersburg bar or restaurant, but he’s trying something new in 2021. In addition to his yearly Pride art show, Gascot is organizing Pinellas Park’s first Pride festival.

And why Pinellas Park you ask?

“I’m going on seven years here, and in that time the city has already started evolving,” Gascot told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “But Pinellas Park has a certain reputation, and while I’ve never had any negative or homophobic experiences here, I can see how a more conservative community hasn’t had a Pride parade yet.”

Pride at the Village
Saturday, June 26, 2 p.m.-10 p.m.
Pinellas Arts Village
5601 Park Blvd. N, Pinellas Park
@gascot on Facebook

Gascot’s art studio resides in Pinellas Park’s Pinellas Arts Village, an emerging creative district that hosts a Saturday block party on the fourth Saturday of each month. Gascot also reminded me, “Pinellas Park is right in the center of Tampa Bay, so it's not far from Tampa or St. Pete.”

Initially, the 49-year-old artist planned to do a Pride-themed block party. Then he reasoned that a Pride festival could attract a different crowd to Pinellas Park.

“This could be a great opportunity to get a whole new group of people who don't even necessarily know we're here and just come because it's a Pride festival,” said Gascot.

Although Gascot’s organized several “Block pARTies,” this will be his first festival.

click to enlarge “I’m going on seven years here, and in that time the city has already started evolving,” Gascot said. - gascot/Facebook
“I’m going on seven years here, and in that time the city has already started evolving,” Gascot said.

“I never thought I'd be organizing a whole festival,” Gascot told CL. “I mean, I organize the art walks, and each venue does their thing, but this has been a learning experience. And instead of feeling overwhelmed, I've felt exhilarated about it."

All that experience hosting art walks is paying off for Gascot, who had a pre-baked list of vendors he’s worked with in the past.

"I put out a call to my vendor list, because I book vendors for our block parties, but that list has more than doubled since,” Gascot added. “Before you knew it, I had inquiries. I made the event page and I'm getting inquiries every day.”

At the time of interview, Gascot had confirmed just shy of 100 vendors, including local artists and makers, animal rescue organizations, and The Gayest Store on Earth. 

“Whatever it is that they sell—whether it's dog bandanas, art or jewelry—a lot of them are doing Pride-specific stuff," said Gascot.

click to enlarge Urban Dog Studio’s Prideful Pet costume contest is at 7 p.m. - Urban Dog Studio
Urban Dog Studio
Urban Dog Studio’s Prideful Pet costume contest is at 7 p.m.

On the Facebook event page, you’ll see photos of Pride bracelets from Enduring Creations, handcrafted pride crowns by Jeneca's Fantasea, rainbow wind chimes by Joan Shurson Patterson, and Pride wreaths from Gabrielle’s Boutique. Gaven Simon is selling a new Pride coffee blend he made in collaboration with GypsySouls Coffee House, and Taylor's Wicked Apples is making rainbow candy apples for the occasion.

From the way Pinellas Park is embracing the event, you’d never guess that this is Gascot’s first festival. In addition to the outdoor market, there are crafting opportunities, animal encounters, a Pride butterfly selfie wall created by Pinellas Arts Village artist Eric Z Goodnight at Studios at 5663, a puppet parade courtesy of Pompei Monster Factory, an LGBTQ art show at Derek Donnelly’s Cove, and a stacked evening entertainment lineup featuring stand-up comedy, drag performances, live music, burlesque, and a pet costume contest (see details below). 

“We have jewelry; we have clothing; we have food; we have everything,” said Gascot. “I don’t know what we don’t have.”

Thanks to sponsorships, there’s even official merchandise, including an official Pride at the Village T-shirt designed by Gascot and Mark Williams. 

“All the biggest sponsors,” Gascot told CL, “have been born and raised Pinellas Park people who are thrilled that something like this is happening, and most of them aren’t even LGBTQ.”

No matter who he’s working with in the City of Pinellas Park, Gascot says everyone’s been very excited about this new festival and wants it to be a success. The result is that more than just being a Pride festival, the event is starting to look like a rainbow-fueled Pinellas Park open house. If you’ve never been to Pinellas Arts Village before, I can’t think of a better introduction than Pride at the Village. And it’s not just for LGBTQ folks. 

“I wanted it to be very family-friendly,” Gascot told CL. “It’s for everybody.”

Pride at the Village entertainment lineup
All performances at Studios@5663 Stage except for Joanie J standup comedy happening at 8:30 p.m. at Bottle’s Pub 

  • 2 p.m. Kind Villains (alt-pop)
  • 3 p.m. Jennifer Real (pop and soul)
  • 6 p.m. Sasha Tuck and the Friendly Giants (jazz fusion)
  • 7 p.m. Urban Dog Studio’s Prideful Pet costume contest
  • 7:30 p.m. Daphne Ferraro-hosted drag show feat. Trigger Montgomery and Robyn Heartz
  • 8 p.m. Jaeda Fuentes-hosted drag show feat. Lady Fatalya and Stephanie Stuart
  • 8:30 p.m. Patience The Body (live performance)
  • 8:50 p.m. Florida Dame (pop)
  • 9:10 and 9:30 p.m. Mayven Misbehaven burlesque 

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Jennifer Ring

Jen began her storytelling journey in 2017, writing and taking photographs for Creative Loafing Tampa. Since then, she’s told the story of art in Tampa Bay through more than 200 art reviews, artist profiles, and art features. She believes that everyone can and should make art, whether they’re good at it or not...
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