ABOVE: Pride on the River. Photo via Tampa Pride.
TAMPA | Tampa Pride will hold its inaugural Pride on the River Sept. 18 along the Tampa Riverwalk, an end-of-summer celebration kicking off its 2022 Pride season.
The gathering follows the seventh annual Tampa Pride, billed as the nation’s first in-person Pride celebration of 2021. Organizers say the event welcomed more than 70,000 people to Ybor May 22 and that more than 15,000 are expected for its riverside follow up.
“Our numbers in May were more than double what we had anticipated,” Tampa Pride President Carrie West says. “It was overwhelming but exciting.”
Planning for Pride on the River began soon after this year’s main event, an extension of Tampa Pride’s mission to organize year-round festivities “championing our shared experiences, honoring our differences and strengthening our community.” The inaugural outing will feature a drag brunch, partner events, a diversity boat parade, riverside festival and culminate in fireworks.
The drag brunch will be held from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., with a second show from 1-3 p.m. Each will be hosted by entertainer Brianna Summers at Anchor and Brine, located in the Tampa Marriott Water Street.
Entertainers Diana Ransome, Juno Vibranz and Gabrielle Santi will join Summers for the first show and Viktoria Sommers, Zeal and Allegra Williams will entertain at the second. Each features DJ Mike Sklarz.
Tickets are $30 for a fruit platter and entrée selection or $50 with food and mimosas. All reservations must be paid and confirmed in advance of dining at the restaurant, which advises it “connects directly to the water, offering seafood with drink pairings for guests and locals alike.”
“I am so excited to be a part of the inaugural Tampa Pride on the River Celebration!” Summers says. “To be a first of its kind in the country truly shows why Tampa is so incredible!
“We know how to celebrate our diversity, equality and togetherness through events like Tampa Pride,” she continues. “What better way to do that than with a boat parade full of rainbows?”
Werk the Riverwalk, Pride on the River’s partner activation from the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, will run 12-4 p.m. The program will feature a mixture of live entertainment from singers and drag performers including Guianna, Ashlee T. Bangkx, Mark Castle, TeMonet, Adriana Sparkle, Christopher Knolton and Jeremy Gloff.
The diversity boat parade commences at Garrison Channel at 3 p.m. West says Tampa Pride first conceptualized the water processional years ago and is eager to make it a reality.
“We are really the first Pride in the country to have two Pride events in the same city on totally opposite ends, one in the spring one in the fall,” he says. “We’re bringing the area together both on land and on the sea … taking advantage of what we have right here in our beautiful home.”
The Riverside Festival will follow at the Armature Works pier from 4-8 p.m., featuring remarks from Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. The city’s first openly LGBTQ mayor previously detailed her excitement for Pride on the River Aug. 20.
“Tampa Pride recently celebrated the first Pride parade in 2021 right here in Tampa,” she shared via social media. “Tampa Pride is excited for their next big event … We’re looking forward to welcoming you all to Tampa’s downtown in celebration of diversity, inclusion and the freedom to love who you love.”
Summers will return to emcee the festival, which will feature headliner and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Alyssa Edwards as well as fellow contestant Brita Filter. Actual Bank Robbers, Shevonne & The Force, Jeremy Gloff, Christopher Knolton, Mr. Tampa Pride 2020 Kirk DaVinci, DJ Greg Anderson, Mark Castle, Zeal and the Tampa Bay Pride Band will round out the day’s eclectic roster of entertainment.
Fireworks will close out the evening at 8:15 p.m. View more details about the celebration below:
“We are so excited for this year’s lineup because it’s full of diverse and talented performers and it highlights our local LGBTQ talent as well as national stars,” Pride on the River Co-Directors Nicholas Catania and Ryan Sullivan say.
“We can’t wait to welcome those in our community and beyond to experience all the fun we have planned,” they continue. “It’s exciting, fresh, and everything that Tampa and Tampa Pride represent. Plus, there are a few more surprises still to come!”
Tampa Pride’s Pride on the River will be held Sept. 18 beginning at 10 a.m. For more information, visit PrideOnTheRiver.org.