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PrideFest 2013 Move Downtown Controversial

December 10, 2012 Downtown, Events/Meetings, Featured, Popular Culture 15 Comments

Peoples often dislike when an event that’s been held in a location for a long time moves to a different location, a recent example is the Annie Malone May Day Parade:

The parade moved downtown in 2006 in hopes of increasing community-wide participation, but has struggled to maintain the level of support it once enjoyed when the parade was held in north St. Louis. (KMOX)

I never saw the parade in north St. Louis but I have seen it a few times downtown, so more of the St. Louis community has participated.

A marching band heads east on Market Street during the 2010 Annie Malone parade on May 16, 2010.

Now we have a very similar controversy about the 2013 PrideFest parade, the annual LGBT event:

Pride St. Louis, Inc. is making some exciting changes in its 34th year. This year, the festival will be held in the heart of downtown St. Louis, at Soldiers Memorial. That means tourists and visitors will be able to enjoy the festival as well as taking in the amenities and iconic scenery of the Gateway City. (Vital Voice)

But not everyone in the LGBT community supports the change of venue from South Grand and Tower Grove Park. A Facebook page called Keep Pride in Tower Grove was started  and a rally will be held today at 5pm and then at 7pm try to convince the Pride board to reconsider the change (event).

ABOVE: From the 2011 PrideFest parade on south Grand

When I moved to St. Louis in 1990 as a 23 year-old gay man the CWE was the center of the LGBT community. In 1998 the community was in uproar when the parade was moved from its longtime home of Euclid/Forest Park to South Grand/Tower Grove Park. The event has an interesting history.

History does repeat itself.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. PR says:

    I’m looking forward to the new location. A big spark has been the parking issue, people think they are going to have to park in garages and pay. Personally I’ll be parking on the street. Isn’t there plenty of street parking? I don’t see me walking any further than I had to for the TGP location.

    • JZ71 says:


      • PR says:

        great idea!

      • MetroLink is an option for some. I’m going to contact the Pride board to suggest they inform everyone of MetroBus routes as well. Many bus lines in the region will get you downtown for this and other events.

        • Ed Golterman says:

          how about urging Metro-rail and bus to do specials to Kiel opera house and in the summer time to MUNY. But first, as an urban voice, call for an end to the suffocating restraint of trade of both. MUNY is down to less than 7 weeks, and the opera house averages 4-5 shows a month on stage. Crimes.

          • Moe says:

            There are special Metro runs for the Muny, which has been a bit over 7 weeks (7 shows with 1 running 10 days) for the past 10 years.

  2. My only problem is the use of Soldier’s Memorial as event central — and not just for Pridefest, for ALL the events held there. It seems very disrespectful. And the space is kind of lackluster for events anyway.

    The big question though is: can we get some creative lighting design to rainbow the Arch for Pride week?

    • The area of the Gateway Mall that includes Soldiers Memorial is called the “Civic Room” in the master plan, that is the designated area for large festivals. Soldiers Memorial is a better identifying name for the area at the moment.

  3. justin s. says:

    moving to soldiers memorial takes away a lot of the event’s uniqueness and wraps it into another generic looking festival.

  4. pat says:

    What was the main reason behind moving the festival? It sounds like it was for better access. Or has it grown too large and Tower Grove can no longer hold the masses?

  5. guest says:

    What is it with parades and St. Louis? There are a lot of parades that neighborhood residents would like to see moved. As a downtown office downtown, I wish they’d keep them in the neighborhoods where they started. All of this parade traffic is an inconvenience to me.

    • guest says:

      That should read…”As a downtown office *worker*…I wish they’d keep them in the neighborhoods where they started.”

  6. Just as I believed the Annie Malone parade should have stayed in The Ville, PrideFest should be anchored at Tower Grove Park. Relocating downtown sterilizes these events and robs neighborhoods of their cultural significance.

  7. Ed Golterman says:

    The side issue, or issue of ‘equal import’ is the continued abuse of Soldiers Memorial and its plaza which perpetually shows St. louis’ distain for the military and veterans. The City has gone ‘festivals’ happy – sell as much food and beverage as possible – and now it is nearly every weekend in the plaza. Yet, the Memorial is still neglected, and the plazas are dark at night. Taste Of is the biggest abuser, they refused to even collect voluntary donations for grounds repair and restoration. The area was not designed for large festivals, ever. it was designed for civic ceremonies and parades, as Market Street is our historic main street. The festivals were inside-kiel opera house and auditorium. Soldiers Memorial has an auditorium that is never used. This is about selling food and booze, and gouging vendors for their spaces. Not about civic anything.


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