ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The 2011 Saint Louis “Pride Fest” attracted a crowd of 85 thousand. Last year, it topped 250 thousand, and organizers are planning for even more this weekend.

Landon Brownfield with Pride Saint Louis says LGBT supporters come from many states to celebrate with those from Missouri and Illinois.

“Tennessee, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma, we’re the Midwest’s largest Pride festival,” he says.

Brownfield says “Pride Fest” technically remains free to attend, but they are asking for a $5 donation to help cover costs Pride Saint Louis incurs for running the festival, its new community center, and its outreach.

This year’s Pride Fest theme is “Community Proud.” This year’s grand marshal will be founding LGBT rights activist Cleve Jones, who also was a driving force behind the creation of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

“It was very hot last year, so the fact that it’s going to around 75, 80 degrees for the parade, we’re excited about that,” Brownfield says.

Festival grounds near Solider’s Memorial open tonight at 4:30, and the parade is Sunday at noon.

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