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Annual Utah Pride Festival begins Friday in Salt Lake City

Published June 6, 2015 10:31 am

Reception kicks off three-day event, which includes parade on Sunday.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Crews on Thursday erected white portable tents, closed off streets and made final preparations on the eve of the annual Utah Pride Festival.

At a news conference at Library and Washington squares, where the three-day festival will be held, Utah Pride Center board members laid out the blueprint for the festivities.

"The pride program is a huge program," said board President Kent Frogley. "It helps fund mental health counseling, youth programs targeting gender nonconforming kids, and a Girl Scout troop program that accepts transgender kids."

Frogley said the recently launched Girl Scout program is the first in the country to accept gender nonconforming kids and those who identify as transgender.

"The pride program," Frogley said, "saves lives, helps keep families together ... and provides meals to homeless youth."

The Pride Festival will kick off with a grand marshal reception Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Author and TV host Janet Mock, a transgender woman, is this year's grand marshal. Mock will lead the parade Sunday, which is expected to start at 10 a.m.

The parade will begin at 400 East and 200 South before heading west on 200 South to the Salt Palace Convention Center. The theme for the parade: "Pride is."

Program director Jen Parsons-Soran said the festival can bring awareness to the societal pressures lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths may face.

"We still have unsolved murders in the trans communities," Parsons-Soran said, "and kids who are committing suicide due to the rejections of their family."

But the festival is also about fun, food and music.

Saturday night's headliner act is rapper, singer and songwriter Dev.

Sunday's entertainment culminates with the girl group XELLE.

The origins of the festival date back to 1974, when about 200 people gathered in Memory Grove for a picnic. In 1983, a committee formed and obtained its first city permit for the event, according to a news release.

Organizers expect between 35,000 and 40,000 attendees this year. Last year's festival attracted more than 34,000 people.

New events at this year's festival include an inaugural opening ceremony featuring fire drums and a dance party, beginning at 9 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $5.

The festival is also holding its first "combined Dyke, Trans, Sexually Fluid and Poly Rally" and a march on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Capitol.

Also new: a 5K race Sunday at 9 a.m. along the parade route.

Tickets are $5 for the opening ceremony, $12 Saturday ($16 after 6 p.m.) and $12 Sunday. Kids under 12 are free.

All money raised goes to the Utah Pride Center.

For more information, log onto www.utahpridefestival.org


Twitter: @ ShaheedMo






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