ST. LOUIS – Community leaders, politicians and other dignitaries were on hand as hundreds attended last night's official Pride St. Louis kickoff party at The Stage at KDHX in Grand Center. PrideFest 2014 will be held at Soldier’s Memorial downtown, June 28-29, 2014.


St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay was on hand to receive the Felton T. Day Community Service Award, presented by Pride St. Louis.


“It’s hard to believe that it was 1979 when a relatively small group of concerned individuals met on Magnolia to start St. Louis PrideFest.,” Slay said in his acceptance speech. “Since that time, it has now evolved into one of the United States’ premier LGBT festivals, which we’re extremely proud.”


“We lit up downtown a little bit,” Slay said of last year’s celebration. “We created a little controversy, rolled out the flags and brought a lot of people [from all over the country] to enjoy St. Louis while we’re enjoying ourselves and celebrating our great diversity and all the people who make up St. Louis and make it so beautiful… It’s our thrill and our honor to be able to be the host in downtown for this event and I’m looking forward to another great one this year.”


Others honored with Community Service Awards, which are named in memory of former Pride St. Louis Board Members, were PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), the recipient of the Jim Hoefer Organization Award; former Pride St. Louis Board member Debbie Smith, who received the Chuck Charleston Award; and retiring head of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, Paula Gianino, who was honored with the Lisa Wagaman Lifetime Community Service Award.


Pride St. Louis Parade Director Ellen Vanscoy announced this year’s Pride Parade emcees will be comedienne Trish Busch and drag personality Dieta Pepsi. Vanscoy also announced this year’s Pride Parade Grand Marshal will be Cea Hearth (formerly Glenda Dilley), a founding member of the Magnolia Committee, which later became Pride St. Louis. Hearth will be joined by other surviving members of Magnolia to mark Pride’s 35th anniversary.


In addition to raffle prizes, complimentary food and drinks were provided by Pride sponsors Anheuser Busch, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Cruzan Rum, Jägermeister, Pinnacle Vodka, Sauza Tequila, Pickles Deli, Dominos, Lumière Place, and Noodles and Co who featured a live sauté station.



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