Come OUT St. Pete prepares for sixth celebration

ABOVE: COSP 2020 at Seminole Park. Photo by Dylan Todd.

ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete will mark its sixth year this October with events before and after National Coming Out Day.

COSP was founded in 2017 to honor NCOD, which has celebrated coming out as LGBTQ every year since 1988 on Oct. 11. The organization advocates for all sexual orientations and gender identities through inclusive events and more.

That includes this year’s inaugural “Family” Day Celebration Oct. 9. at Seminole Park, scheduled from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. It will be preceded by a Pride Run St. Pete 5K Run/Walk from 8-9 a.m., another new venture.

Participants will begin at Seminole Park and make their way down Central Ave. before circling back. COSP’s partnership with the Pride Run Series, which organizes similar 5Ks nationwide, was rescheduled from June due to weather.

“We also felt it was fitting to utilize beautiful Historic Kenwood’s Seminole Park for this event, while still keeping the celebration within the Grand Central District,” COSP Chair  Chris Jones adds. Participation in the Timed 5K is $50 or $25 for those under the age of 15, with the option to donate additional funds to COSP’s mission.

Virtual 5K options are also available. Registration for each option is live online and day-of registration begins at 6:30 a.m.

Participants will receive a finisher medal and race T-shirt and other perks. Those who participate in person will receive their awards from Chuck Diaz-Henson, former COSP grand marshal, before COSP’s celebration in the park begins.

“Our ‘Family’ Day Celebration is a continuation of our yearly recognition of National Coming Out Day,” Jones says. “This year, I had the idea to go back to the original concept of how I remembered Pride events to be when I first came out.”

The park will host a variety of local LGBTQ and ally artists, organizations and other groups. Jones says each vendor provides services for the LGBTQ community that promote a sense of belonging.

While COSP’s event is family friendly, its concept focuses on the idea that the LGBTQ community at large is familial. The gathering will feature music throughout the day from DJ Jayson Chancey, drag performances from Tampa Bay fan favorites Kori Stevens, Alexis De La Mer and Veronica Vixen, and highlight COSP’s newly crowned royal court.

COSP held its annual “Come Out As You Are” Royal Court Talent Competition Sept. 11, naming three 2023 representatives who will each perform. They are Miss Come Out St. Pete Rockell Blu, Mr. Come Out St. Pete Adam Cole and Ambassador Caezia Giovanni Kreshe.

Showtimes are at 11 a.m. and noon. At 1 p.m., COSP will unfurl its 375-foot Pride flag in recognition of NCOD. Read more below.

“We are very excited about this event because it will have a neighborhood community feel about it, while still keeping with our tradition of the event being within the Grand Central District,” Jones says. “Attendees will be able to browse through the vendors and information groups that will be available, grab a bite to eat and sit in the park while listening and watching the entertainment!”

COSP will continue its celebration Oct. 30 during Halloween on Central 2. The LGBTQ inclusive spooktacular will shut down 22 blocks of Central Ave, with COSP overseeing the 28th-30th blocks.

“As Come Out St. Pete celebrates our sixth anniversary this year, we have discovered that our mission is still of importance,” Jones says. “The board of directors has learned to work very cohesively and productively this year in creating new ideas and providing more defined goals … we are appreciative of the LGBTQ+ and ally community that has supported us.”

COSP’s “Family” Day will be held Oct. 9 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Seminole Park, located at 2900 3rd Ave. N. The 5K Run/Walk begins at 8 a.m. To learn more, visit and

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