ST. CLOUD - St. Cloud's 8th annual Pride Festival is this weekend. Spokesman Jim Beck says even though gay rights have come a long way over the past several years, it is still important to have events like Pride to promote equality.

Letting people know it's okay to be who you are, no matter what your circumstance is.  The event is not just a gay pride festival, it's a festival for all.

Events start on Friday at the Pioneer Place Theater.  Beck says one of the highlights of the weekend is Pride in the Park on Saturday at Lake George. He says that event has grown every year...

The largest we had was 72 vendors last year, and we're over 75 already for this year.  I think we'll be close to 80 by Saturday.

The park will also have food vendors, a beer garden, and live entertainment. Another event on Saturday is the annual drag show at the River's Edge Convention Center, which starts at 7:00 p.m.

St. Cloud is one of several Minnesota cities that host an annual Pride Festival including Duluth, Brainerd, Mankato and Rochester.