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Utah Pride Festival Runs Through First June Weekend

Bob Nelson

The Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City opens its annual 2-day Pride Festival on the grounds of the Salt Lake City and County Building tomorrow. The center’s Executive Director, Valerie Larabee, says it’s all in support and service of the Utah LGBTQ community and its allies.

“It’s one of the best festivals in the country as far as family friendly festivals. We really do recognize that we share Utah with people of all types and of all thought preferences and religions we want to honor that we are also citizens of this great state and yet we never want to forget our own history and put our people at the very center of why we do this,” says Larabee.

She says the decision last week by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay Scouts makes it clear there’s more work to be done.

“Although I think it’s a step in the right direction I still think that it demonizes young gay men and that in and of itself is a really tragic thing,” Larabee says.

She says she’s pleased about the Mormon Church speaking out about the recent ruling.

Credit Bob Nelson
Pride Fest veteran and owner of 8th Street Catering, Chris Kontgis, sets up his Greek Food booth for the 2-day festival.

The festival includes a 5K race, special family hours and food vendors followed by music performances into the evening hours tomorrow. The traditional Pride Parade is Sunday beginning at 10 am. The Center’s events director, Negin Risbon, says she expects 30-thousand people to line up along the parade route. Risbon says the Sunday evening concert highlight will be disco diva Thelma Houston.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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