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St. Pete Pride a Boost to Local Economy

Win McNamee / Getty Images

St. Petersburg Pride Weekend is here.

In its 12th year, the event celebrating diversity in the LGBT community is expanding from four days this year instead of one. It’s also predicted to bring more money to the city of St. Petersburg and its businesses.

The city estimates that Pride Weekend will provide an $18 million economic boost for the city, up from $10 million in previous years. Organizers say more than 100,000 people have attended past celebrations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“This year because Pride is expanded, we have seen estimates that could lift that number up to as much $18 million,” said Ben Kirby, spokesman for Mayor Rick Kriseman.  “That's because people will stay in the city over the course of more days. We have expanded to three days. We think that is great news.”

St. Petersburg depends on this and other multi-day events, such as the annual Firestone Grand Prix, Kirby said. An independent study cited by Ramsberger said the Formula One race weekend has an economic impact of $33 million to $35 million on the community.

“So it's an exciting time, it's an exciting event.  And sure, we love hosting other great events as well, had the Grand Prix not long ago,” Kirby said. “…St. Petersburg is getting a lot of national and international attention, recently named by the New York Times as one of the 50 top places to visit in the world.”

Pride Weekend continues tonight with a concert by Mary Lambert, the vocalist for Macklemore's hit song, “Same Love.”

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