Roaring with Pride in St. Louis
By Mary Miller Cullins
What became known as the St. Louis Lesbian & Gay Pride Celebration Committee was born in 1979, but the first St. Louis Lesbian & Gay Pride Celebration didn’t occur until 1980.
This event was sponsored by the Magnolia Committee-named for the street where the majority of the members lived and held meetings. Their combined effort with another organization resulted in a weeks worth of activities held in April of 1980.
At the end of the week hundreds gathered on Lindell Blvd. for the “Lesbians and Gays Walk for Charity. These two groups combined and became the St. Louis Lesbian & Gay Pride Celebration Committee.
Soon after the committee was formed it was decided the annual celebration would be held in June as a tribute to the Stonewall riots which occurred on the last weekend of June in 1969. This began the tradition which is still going strong today in St. Louis; June is now known as Gay and Lesbian Pride month.
Tower Grove Park in south St. Louis is “home base” for the 2 day festival held on the last weekend of June. Thousands of people visit the park that weekend to celebrate Pridefest. Local businesses, community organizations, and vendors are on hand with free give-aways, information booths, and great food.
The annual parade (the second largest parade in the City) is held on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. beginning at Grand and Utah heading north past the Arsenal turning into the entrance of Tower Grove Park. The parade has served as a vehicle for legislators and candidates to show their support of the LGBT community.
The parade also showcases the creative talents of hundreds of businesses, non-profit organizations, and community groups; it is a means for those groups to spread their message to all who attend the parade.
St. Louis is host to a number of parades in the City and this is by far one of the most colorful events of the year!
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