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ST. CLOUD - St. Cloud Pride hosted their 4th annual pride in the park event today at Lake George to welcome everyone to be who they are, and to raise awareness against bullying.

"It's about awareness, letting people in the community realize it's happening." Jim Beck, a member of the St. Cloud Pride board said. "It can happen at work, it can happen at school. We just want to make sure we're talking about it, and maybe prevent it from happening in the future."

Arts and crafts, food, entertainment, and a large line-up of speakers and musicians welcomed those who attend today.

Mayor Dave Kleis made a surprise visit to the festival, speaking out against bullying.

"What builds courage and character is an individual who responds to a bully, who witnesses something like that and stands up to say that it's not acceptable." Kleis said.

Regan Dockery also gave a speech at the event, giving her point of view on how hateful speech can hurt people.

"Derogatory terms and hateful speech has a large harmful effect on the people I love and care about" Dockery said.

St. Cloud Pride is a non-profit group that formed in 2010 to raise awareness on issues of heterosexism and homophobia in St. Cloud and the surrounding area. Members of St. Cloud pride range from all aspects of the LGBTA community.

St. Cloud Pride has events planned throughout the weekend, including a drag show at the Rivers Edge Convention Center tonight. More details on the event can be found on their website.


Dan DeBaun, WJON News