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Winter Pride returns at larger venue

The gay pride event at Al Lopez Park on Saturday will have more family activities.

By MICHAEL A. MOHAMMED
Published February 22, 2007


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TAMPA - Brian Feist sat at dinner with a friend three years ago, discussing the Tampa gay community's low profile.

"Tampa needs a pride event," he said. "We need to be more visible."

His friend told him to organize one. He did.

Feist now co-chairs Winter Pride Tampa Bay. Its signature event, Pride in the Park, takes place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Al Lopez Park.

The gathering will feature a lineup of local musicians, a classic car show and a "family fun area" with activities for children.

Last year's free event brought a capacity crowd of 5,000 to Lowry Park. The move to Al Lopez Park is in expectation of a larger crowd.

"We were really maxed out on space in Lowry Park," Feist said.

The city of Tampa is co-sponsoring the event and will lend its "Soundmobile," a portable stage.

Jazz vocalist Suede will emcee the crowded musical lineup, which includes local rockers the Double M Band and Halcyon.

Suede will open the weekend with a concert at 8 p.m. on Friday. The festival also features parties at local gay clubs on Friday and Saturday nights and a film screening, as well as a night of bingo on March 3.

Feist, 48, hopes to attract gay and lesbian parents and their families to the event. This year's Pride in the Park will feature an expanded family activity section, because last year's was a big hit.

"Some parents said it was their kids' first opportunity to play and associate with other kids who had same-sex parents," he said, "and a number of straight couples brought their children, too."

Michael A. Mohammed can be reached at mmohammed@sptimes.com or 813 226-3404.

. if you go

Friday

8 p.m: Suede concert at Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa, 408 E Cayuga St. Tickets $20-25; call (813) 915-8301.

9 p.m.: Kick-off party at 900 N Dale Mabry Highway. $10 cover charge.

Saturday

11 a.m.-4 p.m. : Pride in the Park. Al Lopez Park, at Himes Avenue and W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Free.

8 p.m.: Screening of the film Dirty Laundry. Channelside Imax, 615 Channelside Drive. $9, $7 for students.

9 p.m. : "White Party" at Wranglers, 1915 E. Seventh Ave. White attire requested. $5 cover charge.

March 3

6 p.m.: Spaghetti dinner and bingo at Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa. Bingo starts at 7 p.m. Admission, $25 for dinner and bingo, $15 for bingo only.

For information: www.wptb.org.

[Last modified February 22, 2007, 06:27:44]


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