By Pat Pratt
June is Pride Month, with several events taking place in the Metro East and St. Louis region to celebrate the history and contributions of LGBTQ+ Americans to our nation.
Metro East Pride on June 17 will host its Pride Block Party beginning at 7 p.m. at Shoehorn Brewing – Paderborn Square, located at 225 E Main Street in Belleville. All ages are welcome, but attendees must be 21-year or older to drink.
While a date has not been set and last year’s event took place in July, Metro East Pride is also planning its annual Metro East Pride Royalty Pageant. The venue is SPACES Belleville, located at 189 E Main Street. For more information visit metroeastpride.org
Metro East Pridefest is scheduled for Sept. 30 and more details are expected as the date approaches.
Alton Pride will host a Drag Barbecue from 1-5 p.m. June 11 at Bubby & Sissy’s located at 602 Belle Street in Alton. The LGBTQ+ bar is also hosting special events throughout Pride Month and more details can be found on its Facebook page.
The St. Louis Cardinals will host their annual Pride Night on Friday, June 9 at Busch Stadium, as they take on the Cincinnati Reds. Fans can purchase a Theme Ticket for a rainbow Cardinals jersey. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline, a nonprofit support helpline.
The biggest event near the Metro East is Pridefest in St. Louis, which is set to kick off at 11 a.m. June 24 and run through the evening of June 25. The theme of this year’s event is “Diversity Creates Community” and the activities will be centered around the Soldier’s Memorial in downtown.
Pridefest is a family-friendly event with numerous activities, music and vendors throughout the weekend, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the city.
The pinnacle of the weekend is the Grand Parade, which will begin at noon Sunday at Eighth and Market streets.
The history of Pride Month dates to the Stonewall Riots, a series of riots for Gay liberation which began June 28, 1969. The riots began when members of the New York City Vice Squad Public Morals Division raided the Stonewall Inn, setting off a firestorm of resistance by patrons of the bar.
The incident is widely believed to be the harbinger of the modern LGBTQ+ movement for civil rights.