PrideFest 2017 is only a few months away, and preparations are already beginning. Last year, we welcomed a many LGBTQIA+ people and allies to Downtown St. Louis. This year on June 23rd-25th, we hope to welcome even more. We’re excited to welcome entertainment such as Alisan Porter, winner of NBC’s “The Voice” season 10, American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez, YouTube’s gay electropop artist Runaground, emerging gay country artist Brandon Stansell, R&B and soul singer-songwriter Blu Cantrell, and country and Broadway Star Laura Bell Bundy.

Our grand marshal this year will be Cleve Jones, a founding activist in the LGBT rights movement, author of “When We Rise”, the book on which the ABC miniseries was based, founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, and friend to Harvey Milk.

This year, we’re continuing to tirelessly serve the LGBTQIA+ community. We started PrideCenter, an immense undertaking to create an LGBTQIA+ center in St. Louis during a difficult time for many in our community, especially trans and gender-nonconforming individuals. We’ve increased our educational programming, including racial bias trainings, self-defense workshops, and seminars about issues facing the queer community. These efforts are reflected in our theme this year: “Community Proud”. We are a community organization, founded in 1981 by the community, and for the community. At its heart, the pride movement is one of both history and progress. June, Pride Month, commemorates the Stonewall Riots, where our forbearers catalyzed what would become our modern LGBT rights movement. In these footsteps, our commitment to equality, inclusion, and outreach has never been stronger.

At PrideFest this year, we’ll be asking for $5 upon entry, joining many other Pride organizations around the country. Your contribution is an investment back into the community. Five dollars will support our five central initiatives: PrideCenter, outreach, education, scholarship, and festival.

First, it will support PrideCenter as a safer space for the most vulnerable in our community, it will provide funding to expand our public library, and it will increase our community-focused programming. Second, it will support our outreach work, including workshops and trainings on a variety of queer, trans, feminist, and racial bias issues. Third, it will support our educational programs such as Teachable Tuesdays, our partnerships with groups such as MTUG, QTPOC, and Black Pride, and our seminars and workshops. Fourth, the $5 contribution will ensure that LGBTQIA+ people of all ages pursuing higher education can receive scholarships to attend school. Fifth, your contribution allows us to have a safe, open, and inclusive festival in 2017.

We understand that many people may not be able to afford the $5 entry. We’re dedicated to serving everyone, and as such, we will be providing tickets that community organizations can distribute to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. Contact us at entry@pridestl.org to request tickets.

We continue our devotion to building bridges, to being inclusive and diverse, to advancing equality among all sexes, genders, races, and abilities, and to bringing true unity and solidarity to the St. Louis community. V

Via Press Release