Orlando mass shooting impacting security for gay pride events in St. Louis area

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ST. PETERS, MO (KTVI) - Jill Aul and Beth Finder are co-chairs of Pride St. Charles, an LGBT event Saturday at 370 Lakeside Park in St. Peters.

Monday, they said they met with St. Peters Police to discuss increased security at the event, due to the mass shooting at a gay night blue in Orlando last weekend.

“We are going to have a presence of police officers at the event,” said Finder.  “Our event runs from 11 am – 7 pm.  Police will be there for the entirety.”

Aul added, “They asked us to let people know they are prepared and they are working on a revised plan to make sure it is a safe and secure festival for everybody's enjoyment.”

A FOX 2 reporter asked if their upcoming event was the first thing they thought of when they heard about what happened in Orlando.

“Well actually we both have LGBT children,” said Aul.  “That's the first thing that came to our minds is that this tragedy could have involved our own children.  That's what motivates us to get involved in this in the first place.”

The organization’s website displays photographs from their first event, last year.  They say it attracted 3,500 people.

“We have all-day entertainment,” said Aul.  “We're going to have a couple weddings that will take place throughout the day here on the grounds.

We have close to 100 vendors selling merchandise and giving out information, and about 100 food trucks as well.”

Finder said, “I hope that the community as a whole is going to show St. Charles County that love will win once again.”

St. Louis Pridefest takes place the following weekend, June 24-26 at Soldier's Memorial downtown.  Pridefest organizers said in a statement, "Due to the safety concerns that have arisen as a result of this tragic event in Orlando, we are continuing to work closely with St. Louis Police to ensure the safety of every person.  Pridefest organizers said they will utilize both marked and unmarked security.