Happy pride, St. Louis!
Now in its 35th year, PrideFest St. Louis kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday with the official wreath-laying ceremony on the steps of Soldiers Memorial. The gay-pride festival also honors LGBT troops with an official military entry in the Wells Fargo Grand Pride Parade, the city's second-largest parade, on Sunday.
"In my lifetime, I never thought I would witness the gay community being allowed, by law, to serve their country openly, and have pride in doing so, in the U.S. Armed Forces," says Master Sergeant Steve Zeiger, who leads the wreath-laying ceremony. "This is how it is supposed to be. We are truly living what our constitution declares."
See also: Journalist Refuses to Cover Pride Event at Fort Leonard Wood, "Comes Out" as Anti-LGBT
With four stages, dozens of participating community partners and side parties at St. Louis' local gay bars, this year's celebration is destined to be a great time. If you need more convincing, here are five reasons to celebrate Pride in 2014:
1. Manila Luzon is coming.
How can any fan of RuPaul's Drag Race forget Manila Luzon, the Filipina glamazon who's not afraid to stretch Asian stereotypes to get a laugh? Luzon's fierce fashions and sparkling wit earned her the first runner-up spot on RuPaul's seminal competition show and thousands of fans around the world, including here in St. Louis.
Luzon -- named after the capital of the Philippines, Manila, and its largest island, Luzon -- will emcee the Bud Light Main Stage at downtown's PrideFest Saturday night, where she'll introduce performers the Eric Himan Band, Ariana & the Rose and Alex Newell.
See also: Six Glee Performances that Make Us Want to See Alex Newell at PrideFest
Luzon can do more than just sissy that walk. After releasing her first single, "Hot Couture," in 2011, she partnered with Cazwell and rapped in her new song "Helen Keller," featuring Richie Beretta and Roxy.
And speaking of RuPaul, one of her greatest rivals, Lady Bunny of Wigstock fame, will be emceeing the Monsanto Stage Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.
There are lots more reasons to have pride! Keep clicking for four more.