Program gets women to reach for the clouds
On a dry, sunny weekend in Red Deer, the rainbow came out in a big way.
Downtown, on the river, in the park, at the bar, and in church the rainbow flag was out over the weekend, accompanied by those revelling in the first formal Pride celebration for Central Alberta.
“People were ready for it. We just had to make it happen,” said Jessica C. Quick.
Central Alberta Pride got underway Friday with a proclamation signing with Mayor Morris Flewwelling and special events downtown. On Saturday, 16 people took to the Red Deer River, heading from Fort Normandeau to the McKenzie Trails area on a ‘Fruit Float.’
That evening, local comedy duo The Dirrty Show, with help from Calgary-based drag king and queen troupes, put on a raucously fun sold-out show at The Vat. A multi-faith service at Cronquist House followed on Sunday morning, and a family barbecue wrapped up the event in the afternoon.
For something that was organized in three months, it was a smashing success, said Jeff Prior, who was part of the organizing committee.
“We’ve had a great response from the community, especially as this was the first planned whole weekend event we didn’t know what to expect, and it’s turned out very very positive. The turnout has been wonderful.”
While the event helped to bring the local gay community together, many straight families came out in support and there was a diversity in the ages of those who came out.
While Central Alberta Pride members did march in the Westerner Days parade, Prior said there was not enough time this year to organize one of their own. But with the positive community response seen this year, he said 2014 can be much bigger.
“That (the community response) gave us confidence. With the success of this weekend, certainly next year we plan to have a parade and to make it a full-week event as opposed to just a weekend,” explained Prior.
To begin the work moving forward and to establish a more permanent presence, the group is going to officially register as a society, and will hold an Annual General Meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Cronquist House.
A collection taken up at Sunday’s multi-faith service garnered $325 which will go towards Camp fYrefly, an Edmonton-based camp for LGBTQ youth. It is a camp Quick went to this summer where, despite her “heart of ice,” she ended up crying on the last day.
“It really made a difference in a lot of people’s lives, I think,” she said.
“They can go back to their families, go back to their friends and say ‘I’m proud of who I am and I’m ok with it.’”
At the camp, there were a number of workshops, from one on human rights to one teaching how to ‘do drag.’
The camp was started in 2004 by two educators at the University of Alberta and now operates near Calgary and in Saskatchewan as well.