Pride, In the Name Fun

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Pink triangles, rainbow T-shirts, men not wearing T-shirts, pop singers, foam machines, drag queens and pride — most of all pride. That's what's in store for the participants of Pride Tampa Bay's annual celebration of the area's gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community.Since Pride Tampa Bay began organizing the event in 1992, attendance has gone from 3,000 in '93 to 28,000 last year, and from a budget of $14,000 in '93 to $120,000 last year. And this year they've made significant gains as well, snagging Pat Benatar and adding Raymond James Stadium to the event's venues. Below is a rundown of Pride Fest's week of events taking place July 2-7.

Tuesday 7.2

Gay Skate. Lace up your old-school roller-skates or Velcro on your inline skates and hit the rink at United Skates of America. This Pride-sanctioned event gets Pride Fest rolling. (Get it — rolling?). DJ Walter Winston spins high-energy dance music. 7:30 to 11 p.m. $6. United Skates of America, 5121 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa. 813-876-5826. Pre-Soak Foam Party. Pleasuredome throws a wild foam party (as seen on MTV). Grammy Award-winner (Remixer of the Year 2001) DJ Hex Hector spins everything from house to hard trance. Cover TBA. Doors open at 10 p.m. Pleasuredome, 1430 E. Seventh Ave., Ybor City. 813-247-2711.

Wednesday 7.3

Pride Film. In conjunction with the Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Pride screens Sex Becomes Her: The Chi Chi LaRue Story. It's the rags-to-riches story of the world's preeminent drag queen/gay porn director, Chi Chi LaRue. Afterward there's a DJ and dancing. Tickets cost $10. 8 p.m. Twilight 1507 E. Seventh Ave., Ybor City. 813-879-4220.

Thursday 7.4

Fireworks Viewing. Pride throws in some patriotism and organizes a party to go view the city's fireworks display from Channelside at 9 p.m. Channelside, 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Trash Disco Party. This post-fireworks party features DJs Anthony Evans, Joey Brooks, Natasha Richards and Melanie Minyon. 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. with two-for-one drinks all night. Cover TBA. The Chambers, 1701 N. Franklin St., Tampa. 813-223-1300.

Friday 7.5

Central Florida Black Pride Welcome Reception. Founded in 1999, the organization presents speeches, seminars and poetry readings. For more info, visit the organization's Web site (www.floridablackpride.net). The reception takes place at 6 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel-Westshore. Admission is free. Doubletree Hotel-Westshore, 4500 W. Cypress St., Tampa. 800-222-8733. Meet The Stars Reception. The reception offers an opportunity to meet the Pride Fest stars. An address from Pride Grand Marshall Sharon Gless kicks the thing off. 6:30 to 8 p.m. Attendance limited to 500. Tickets cost $40. Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Hotter Than July Party. DJ Chris Cox spins in the main room. Cover TBA. 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. The Garage, 802 E. Whiting St., Tampa. 813-221-4582.

Saturday 7.6

Multi-Faith Lifetime Commitment Ceremony. Say your vows on the field of Raymond James Stadium. Couples must register in advance. The ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Business Guild Expo: Gay and gay-friendly businesses from across the state offer their wares, information and lots of free samples. Tickets cost $15 — includes entry to Pride Rally, Diva Fest (see below) and parking. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Raymond James Stadium. Diva Fest Florida. The show gets started at 10 a.m. with some opening ceremonies and a rally with Sharon Gless on the microphone. Then come the divas: Suzanne Palmer, Julia Fordham, Jennifer Holliday and Pat Benatar. The all-day concert also features a second stage of local artists such as Halcyon. At Raymond James Stadium. The Wet Party. Men (approximately 2,500, mostly in swimwear) converge on the Florida Aquarium. Chi Chi LaRue hostesses. DJs Abel spins with performances by Suzanne Palmer and Jennifer Holliday. 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Tickets cost $25-$45 (add $10 for tickets purchased day of). Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. 813-854-8160. The Wild Party. Tampa Bay's women (and women only) get wild at Cherokee Club. 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Cherokee Club, 1320 E. Ninth Ave., Ybor City. 813-247-9966.

Sunday 7.7

Gay Days at Busch Gardens: Tickets cost $49. Busch Gardens, 3000 E. Busch Blvd., Tampa. 813-987-5082.

For more info, visit www.pridetampabay.com.

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