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River Falls "Queer Crawl" brings together residents, small business to celebrate Pride

St. Croix River Valley Businesses are stepping up for the Queer Crawl
St. Croix River Valley Businesses are stepping up for the Queer Crawl 02:17

RIVER FALLS, Wis. — The city of River Falls is more colorful than it's ever been. 

For the first time, dozens of businesses in the St. Croix Valley of western Wisconsin are openly supporting the rainbow flag.

It's all thanks to Beau Fair, a UW River falls student, and entrepreneur Bridget Faricy. 

The two met because of a love of dogs.

Faricy was looking for a dog trainer for her standard poodle, who she described as "quite a hand full."

That's how she met Fair, who majors in business administration management and companion animal services. Fair's goal is to ultimately become a dog trainer and run a dog academy.

While bonding over Ivan - the pair bonded over a respect for Pride. There is a large event in Minneapolis and a newer one in Hudson but they thought River Falls deserved one too. 

"The vision is that the whole St. Croix Valley will be the destination for Pride the week prior to the big Minneapolis Pride Festival," said Faricy, who is a newer resident to River Falls.

"I don't want people like me to be afraid, and even though we are in a small Wisconsin town, we can still celebrate who we are," said Fair.

So just weeks ago they started a virtual celebration, asking local businesses to step up as allies and offer Pride discounts. The response, was overwhelming, with 50 businesses and counting. From coffee to food to craft classes, the list goes on and on.

Swinging Bridge Brew Pub quickly signed up, and so did Fox Den Used Books.  

"It's gone from where we've had just one or two displays in town to this whole Queer Crawl. I love it. I am very excited about it," said Heather Williams, who owns Fox Den. 

The pair quickly signed up businesses offering discounts of up to 40% this week including restaurants, a coffee shop and a woodworking studio.

For a full list of places supporting this virtual event, you can check out the St. Croix Valley Pride website.

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