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Utah Pride Festival calls for 600 volunteers

With more than 600 volunteer positions to fill, the Utah Pride Center is gearing up for a Pride Festival expansion. In addition to the Washington Square grounds, it will once again, as in a few previous festivals, trickle to parts of Library Square.

Also new to this year’s Pride, to be held June 1-3, is a friendlier drink-ticket system. Festivalgoers may purchase, in one transaction, as many drink tickets as they wish for during the festival and simply redeem them throughout the weekend.

“We’re focusing on the expansion and making our growth as comfortable as possible,” said Michael Westley, a festival organizer.

The expansion of the grounds will allow for more seating and shade as well as a place where families can feel comfortable with children all weekend, he said. The Kids Zone will be expanding, as will the volunteer area, to accommodate the growing needs of the community, he said.

Also, a new entrance at the west side of the festival will open, which will relieve congestion at the gates as well as diversify the foot traffic through the grounds, Westley said.

“We’ve really got some exciting things happening this year and it’s going to be even bigger than last year’s festival,” Westley said.

Planning for the festival began in October and included discussions about possible grand marshals, entertainment and the development of goals and themes. This year’s theme, Changing Hearts and Lives, follows suit of the Pride Center’s theme for 2012, Changing Hearts and Minds.

The Pride Festival officials and the Utah Pride Center programs are focusing on attracting and offering resources for members of the queer community and its allies from around the state.

“It’s Utah Pride, not Salt Lake City Pride,” Westley said.

In order to accomplish the expansion goals and have a successful festival, the Center is seeking hundreds of volunteers. With more leadership positions than ever before, there’s a way for everyone to get involved in the festival and make an impact in the community, he said.

“Not only will you be doing something to help the festival, you’ll be around like-minded people, and it’s a perfect chance to meet new people and make new friends,” Westley said. “We need everyone’s unique talents and everyone is encouraged to get involved in some way.”

Open positions include beverage stations, servers, parade volunteers and general-admission workers. Volunteer orientation is already underway and leadership positions will meet every other Wednesday beginning in March.

For more information or to register as a volunteer, go to utahpridefestival.org.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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