This week marks the culmination of LGBTQIA+ Pride festivities in St. Louis. With festivals taking place Downtown and in Tower Grove Park over the weekend, another St. Louis neighborhood will kick off the celebration on Friday night. In the Soulard neighborhood, they are celebrating with the second annual Colors of the Rainbow Flag Pub Crawl, presented by Soulard Pride


The Colors of the Rainbow crawl will feature eight bars in Soulard. 


Beginning at the Great Grizzly Bear between 5 and 6 p.m., participants then choose their own route to Hammerstone's @ 9th and Russell, Duke's, Chava's Mexican Restaurant, Bastille, and Four Strings. Each of those stops will pass out beads of an assigned rainbow flag color and feature a discounted drink special around that same color. There's also a special shots pit-stop at The Wood Shack Soulard. The crawl ends at The Joint at 12th & Allen with a “Drag Show Deluxe” party and show presented by celebrated entertainer Jade Sinclair


“There was never anything before where we were participating [in Pride],” organizer Luann Denten said. “We wanted to belong and do something visible to support the community.”


In addition to drinks, fun, and making new friends, the crawl will have a few main attractions for participants. For instance, at the conclusion of the crawl, participants may enter for a special drawing if they have beads for all colors of the Pride flag. Certain stops will also feature special additions, with drag performers and an Enchanted Mirror for photo opportunities.


Soulard Pride is part of St. Louis PrideFest's official activities, kicking the event off on Friday night and carrying PrideFest into its weekend. Over 5,000 participants were involved in 2018, and organizers are expecting to more than double that number this year with over 13,000 participants expected from the Facebook event.


Soulard Pride has also paired with St. Louis'based to create a line of Soulard Pride merchandise, including shirts and flags that help support Soulard Pride and the Colors of the Rainbow crawl.


“Not only do we get to support something that’s critically important, we get to have fun doing it,” Denten said.


Denten reflects on recent events around St. Louis that have negatively impacted the LGBTQIA+ community, and feels their event is needed for the community’s visibility and to stand up against hate.


“It all started with a desire to get Soulard represented, showing up, saying hey, we support the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a friendly, loving neighborhood, but you need to be a visible standing ally, so here we are,” Denten said. “It’s not about who’s the best, it’s about being together.”


Indeed, the Soulard community really does support each other, as Denten shares the story a few community members who recently took a card to victims of a hate crime saying that the community supports them and is here for them. 


This sense of community was a driving force in the initial Colors of the Rainbow crawl, as it was part in honor to the memory of community member and Bastille bartender, John Peyton Keene, who was the victim of a fatal shooting outside the bar over a year ago.


This community driven network shows in the roots of Soulard Pride, the Colors of the Rainbow crawl, and even if you enter one of the bars in Soulard where you will see people mingling, having fun, and always happy to welcome a new face into their family.


“This is a family; we share birthdays, losses, gains… I just think it is critically important to be a visible ally and to let people know how important it really is,” Denten said.



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