And Proud Of It!

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St. Pete Pride is the estimable organization that plans the Bay area's annual GLBT celebration, but the name could also refer to residents' feelings about the city itself — pride that St. Petersburg is the kind of place that welcomes rather than bans gay pride. This year's Grand Marshall has only burnished the city's reputation: Author Gregory Kompes features St. Pete in his book, 50 Most Fabulous Gay Friendly Places to Live, along with such queer meccas as Provincetown, San Francisco and ... St. Louis? Yes, it's on the list, too, so maybe that's why Pride week includes two screenings of golden oldie Meet Me in St. Louis, with Margaret O'Brien, Hollywood star of yore, making personal appearances. Also on the roster: Pride Night at the Trop on Friday, when baseball fans of all persuasions get to ogle, er, cheer the Devil Rays vs. the Hotlanta Braves; Friday night parties at Georgie's Alibi and the Hyatt Regency in Tampa; and a T-Dance Finale and Concert at Suncoast on Sunday. Saturday's promenade and subsequent festival are the main events, featuring a plethora of performers, vendors, boy-watchers, girl-watchers and rainbow balloons. Go and show Tampa Bay why St. Pete is a good place to show some pride. Meet Me in St. Louis screenings, Fri. June 23, 7 p.m., and Sun., June 25, with Pride Brunch, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, First Avenue N.; St. Pete Pride Promenade, Sat., June 24: 9 a.m. line up, 10 a.m. start from the Metro Center, 3170 Third Ave. N., then east to 30th Street, south to Central Avenue, then east on Central to 22nd Street; Street Festival, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Central Avenue between 22nd and 28th streets. For a complete schedule, visit www.stpetepride.com.

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