St. Louis PrideFest starts Friday; security paramount in light of Orlando murders

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This weekend, St. Louis’ LGBTQ community and its supporters will gather for PrideFest in Downtown St. Louis.

And given what happened in Orlando, security is top of mind.

Ever since the massacre, organizers of PrideFest in St. Louis have been thinking, and even rethinking their security plans to keep everyone safe.

“I think some people are concerned but I don’t think there is anything to be concerned about,” said Pride St. Louis President Matt Harper.

He said increased security was already planned before Orlando because St. Louis’ PrideFest has become such a huge event.

“You are going to see uniformed officers, and we are going to have plainclothes officers that hopefully you won’t see,” said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.

“We have added surveillance cameras to the area around the celebration and we have been working with the highway patrol so you are going to see some troopers downtown with us over the next couple of days.”

Security aside, many will be remembering the victims from Orlando this weekend, and the festival will as well, holding a special ceremony Sunday morning, and lighting the civil courts building with the traditional rainbow colors, plus 49 purple lights in memory of the dead.

“The reason we chose purple is purple on the rainbow flag represents spirit,” Harper said.

“We just wanted their spirit to shine on through our festival this weekend and let everybody remember the lives that were lost.”