West St. Paul Pride in the Park

Pride in the Park Returns to West St. Paul

Thanks to Southview Garden Center for their support.

West St. Paul’s Pride in the Park event returns to Southview Park on Saturday, August 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This free community picnic and celebration will include hot dogs while they last, a silent auction, family friendly activities, and more than 25 different organizations with their own giveaways, games, and more.

“This event is important because it continues showing folks in the LGBTQ+ community that there are people and organizations in this city that fully accept you for who you are,” said Wendy Berry, one of the organizers and a West St. Paul City Council member. “People of all ages need that. You want to live somewhere that feels accepting and welcoming, and we’re here to make sure people know that.”

You can follow the WSP Pride in the Park Facebook page for more updates and information.

Pride Fun

Some of the activities will include colored hairspray from Hair Mechanix, voter registration by Stonewall DFL, mini cornhole from Rainbow Health, and music, coloring, and the usual infectious joy of the Minnesota Roller Derby. There will also be food and products for sale, including Ishtar Coffee, Michele’s Cookies, and Ella’s Dragons, among others. West St. Paul artist Sarah Lew will be hosting a community art project. West St. Paul Reader will have a postcard coloring contest.

Copies of Katy Has Two Grampas, written by West St. Paul resident Julie Schanke Lyford, will be available for sale from Michele’s Cookies and in the silent auction.

The silent auction will feature gift packs from local businesses and organizations, including gift cards, artwork, and more. Proceeds will help defray the cost of the event.

Inaugural Event

The inaugural Pride in the Park event happened in 2019 and drew several hundred people to Southview Park in spite of an afternoon thunderstorm.

“My favorite part was the pure joy you could see in people who were able to see they had a whole community supporting them here,” said Berry. “A close second is the middle of the day when the thunderstorms swept through. Nobody left. We all rammed under tents and shelters and got to know each other even better.”

Pandemic Precautions

Like many local events, Pride in the Park didn’t happen in 2020 thanks to COVID-19.

“People wanted us to do something last year, and it just felt really irresponsible in the thick of COVID,” said Berry. “We weren’t sure what we were going to do this year at all, but it felt like we needed to do something. We stretched out until August thinking more folks would/could get vaccinated. Nobody told these different variants about our plan.”

With the rise of the Delta variant and the CDC recommending masks indoors again, Pride in the Park will have several precautions, including spacing out vendors and no potluck picnic. Hotdogs and individually wrapped chips and cookies will be available, but no other shared foods. People are welcome to bring food for their own group, but nothing potluck style.

“Twin Cities Pride was far larger than ours will be and there haven’t been any reported outbreaks from there, so I’m hoping to follow that,” Berry said.

Despite the continuing impacts of COVID-19, recent outdoor events in West St. Paul have gone forward without a hitch, including the inaugural Juneteenth march/celebration and Movies in the Park.

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