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Government, Politics & Issues

St. Louis’ PrideFest will remain free of charge following backlash

Janie Oliphant, left, fixes a LGBT rights flag held by Cody Copp and Samuel Taylor so they can have their picture taken at a rally and march in St. Louis on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio
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Janie Oliphant, left, fixes a LGBT rights flag held by Cody Copp and Samuel Taylor so they can have their picture taken at a rally and march in St. Louis in February 2017.

St. Louis’ PrideFest celebration will once again be a free event this year.

Last week, Pride St. Louis officials announced a new $5 entry fee. The community immediately responded with concern that many people would no longer be able to attend. Some Facebook posters called the move “unfair” and vowed to stay away in protest.

On Tuesday, the LGBTQ  group reversed its decision and is now asking for a suggested $5 donation at the June 23-25 event at Soldiers Memorial in downtown St. Louis.

There will be a $2 charge for a wristband that allows participants to buy alcohol. Pride officials say they need to raise $238,000 to fund the LGBTQ community center, scholarships and outreach, as well as the festival.

Festival expenses have increased for reasons that include the need for more security following last June’s mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, according to the Pride group.

The $5 charge was to be for the festival only, not the parade.

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