BELLEVILLE, Ill. - The 11th annual Metro East PrideFest, organized by Metro East Pride of Southwestern Illinois, will kick off three consecutive weekends of LGBTQIA+ Pride celebrations in our area on Saturday, June 9, from noon-10 p.m. The party takes place on West Main street between 1st and 3rd streets in the shadow of Belleville's historic fountain.

Founded in 2008, and marrying Pride with Main Street USA, the family-friendly hybrid is a nod not only to our annual equality events commemorating the Stonewall Riots each June, but also to the small town Metro East street festival. Over 5k revelers are expected to browse myriad food, organizational, business and arts booths, while listening to an array of local music acts from the main stage

Also on deck is the annual drag show, the kid's zone sponsored by Procter & Gamble, as well as the debut of the high heel drag race and cornhole bean bag contest.

"PrideFest is our way of giving back to the LGBTQIA+ community," said Nicci Kincer, president of Metro East Pride of Southwestern Illinois. "Our festival is family-friendly and includes a fun day of music, vendors, food and activities. I love giving back to our community that has supported me for many years."

"My favorite part is seeing all the young kids who come out and express themselves in an open and loving environment," continued Kincer. "Unfortunately, not everyone comes from a supporting family, so PrideFest allows them to be who they are."

For the past 11 years, Metro East Pride has kicked off Pride celebrations in the St. Louis area. Upcoming festivals are St. Charles PrideFest on 6/16, Tower Grove PrideFest on 6/23, and St. Louis PrideFest 6/23-6/24.

This year's Metro East PrideFest Community Service Award winners, who will accept their accolades on the main stage, are: Jason Lementino/Lady Luscious Diva (Doug Bernier Spirit of Pride Award), Club Escapade (Sonny Pitts Spirit of Pride Award), and Sarah Gool (Brenda Grissom and Dixie Ruliffson Community Service Award.)


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