NewsPinellas County


Ball for 1st Black St. Pete mayor canceled over circus theme

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Posted at 12:59 PM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 12:59:16-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A ball planned for the first Black mayor of St. Petersburg has been canceled amid concerns its circus theme was inappropriate in the once-segregated city.

The Junior League of St. Petersburg has thrown such balls since 2006. But the Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday that it scrapped the event after Mayor-elect Ken Welch declined to attend.

The theme of the ball was "Under the Big Top" with promotional materials featuring a circus tent and a black pelican with a top hat.

Black community leaders pointed out that Blacks were once barred from attending the circus in St. Petersburg. Welch, who takes office Jan. 6, called it a teachable moment for racial inclusion.