PrideFest celebrates St. Louis' vibrant LGBTQIA+ community.

PrideFest Brings Colorful Celebrations and Inclusive Events to Downtown St. Louis

Monday June 3, 2024

By Rachel Huffman

Spotlighting the diverse and dynamic LGBTQIA+ community and bringing awareness and support to the historically marginalized group, PrideFest is one of St. Louis’ signature events.

This year, the LGBTQIA+ festival will take place on June 29 and 30. Every year, celebrations happen at the end of June to coincide with the Stonewall Riots, which occurred in New York City on June 28, 1969, in response to a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village. The historic uprising served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the U.S.

“PrideFest is always a good time,” Jordan Braxton, an educator and advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights, says. “Last year, the festival drew more than 325,000 people to downtown St. Louis, and this year, we’re expecting a similarly sized crowd – plus, the same great energy!”

PrideFest in St. Louis includes a colorful parade along Market Street.
Photo courtesy of Pride St. Louis

During PrideFest, local, national and international talent will grace the main stage – stay tuned for more specific information. Vendors will dot the lawn between St. Louis City Hall and Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, and The Hive will welcome people aged 25 and younger to talk, listen, dance and unleash their pride in a safe space.

The spirited celebrations will culminate in the Grand Pride Parade on June 30. Beginning at noon, the procession will travel down Market Street from 8th to 18th streets.

“We usually have between 175 and 200 entries,” Braxton, who is also the parade director, says. “Local companies, organizations, nonprofits and elected officials participate alongside national companies such as Macy’s, Target and UPS.”

BandTogether, St. Louis’ LGBTQIA+ band and color guard comprised of volunteers, leads the way, setting the tone for the parade, and most floats blast music and hand out beads, T-shirts, cups and tchotchkes.

PrideFest in St. Louis includes a colorful parade along Market Street.
Photo courtesy of Pride St. Louis

“Everyone is welcome at PrideFest,” Braxton emphasizes. “The LGBTQIA+ community is very inclusive, so we welcome people in the community as well as allies.

“PrideFest is an opportunity for everyone to get together to celebrate our uniqueness,” she continues. “There are so many times when people in the queer community don’t get to live authentic lives because of their families or their jobs or their hometowns. There’s so much misinformation about our community circulating, and the hate that some people feel is unnecessary because we’re just trying to live our lives. It’s a shame that queer people don’t always get to do that, and that’s why PrideFest is so important. PrideFest is a time when we can celebrate, support and uplift each other.”

PrideFest has been spreading love, joy and pops of color across St. Louis since 1980. It continues to grow, reinforcing its mission to foster an understanding and a tolerance of the LGBTQIA+ community by raising awareness through educational programs and events leading up to the annual PrideFest in St. Louis.