DOWNTOWN – Thousands made the trek downtown over the weekend to celebrate Pride in style, their numbers rising along with the heat and humidity.
Every year in June, Pride St. Louis hosts its annual PrideFest in downtown St. Louis, featuring musical artists, hundreds of vendors and a parade.
A big crowd shrugged off temperatures in the 90s. Before the parade at noon on Sunday, St. Louisans and others young and old – many decked out in Pride flags and rainbow outfits – milled about the festival.
With a multitude of activities to choose from, they were free to play games, visit their favorite vendor booths and snack on kettle corn or other festival fare. Many had arrived early to stake out the best spots along the parade route.
One St. Louis local, who identified himself only as Jeff, called the festival “lots of fun” and said he looked forward to PrideFest every year.
This year’s PrideFest was extra-special, as it marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York. In 1969, altercations between police and gays came to a head in Greenwich Village when patrons at the Stonewall Inn fought back against harassment by the police. The incident is now widely considered the birth of the modern gay rights movement.
To honor the Stonewall uprising, this year’s PrideFest featured an exhibit about Stonewall’s history. There were also two memorials at the festival: one honoring fallen transgender people and one honoring those who have died from AIDS.
Other features this year were a children’s zone with all sorts of fun for the kids, and an interfaith prayer service on Sunday.
The Pride Parade began at noon, traveling down Market Street.
For more information about Pride St. Louis, check out https://pridestl.org/pridefest.