Tower Grove Pride Festival returns to St. Louis, now a two-day event

ST. LOUIS – The yearbook Tower Grove Pride Festival returns to Tower Grove Park this weekend.

Visitors to the event call it a welcoming, open and safe place for the whole family.

Harris, who goes by her last name, came out as non-binary a year ago and acknowledges the importance of the event.

“This is a chance for us to come out and be part of our community and also share some of our community beliefs with people who may not know much about it,” Harris said. “It’s an educational event and a celebration of who we are.”

Rev. Lauren Bennett is pastor at Harris’ Church. It is the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis that strives to be a hub for the LGBTQIA+ community.

“MCCGSL is truly a beacon of hope and light in the community,” said Bennett. “At least that’s what we strive for. We say in worship each week that we invite people to come as they are and to believe as they do.”

For Bennett, this includes how you identify and your sexual orientation.

“I see myself as pansexual, so I could be in a relationship with anyone of any gender,” she said. “Right now I’m in a committed relationship with another woman. I see gender and sexuality as a spectrum that we move through many times throughout our lives.”

There’s no shortage of food, fun and live entertainment out here at the Tower Grove Pride Festival. Michael Powers is the founder and organizer of Tower Grove Pride. This is the second year in a row that the organizers have held the event in September. It is also the first time that it is a two-day event.

“We had to push back a year because we saw some spikes that got us worried about COVID [in 2020],” he said. “We moved it to September [2021] and the outpouring was just phenomenal.”

There are around 300 stalls and three stages. Powers expects at least 30,000 people or more each day of the event, Saturday and Sunday. Tower Grove Pride has partnered with several community activists and businesses.

“St. Louis is a place where you can be safe,” Powers said. “You can live a happy life and be open and proud as a member of the LGBT community, so that’s what this is about.

The festival continues on Sunday 25 September from 11am to 6pm. It was founded in 2012. LGBTQIA+ History Month starts in a week. Tower Grove Pride Festival returns to St. Louis, now a two-day event

Sarah Y. Kim

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