Central Alberta Pride Week has officially begun.
The Baymont by Wyndham hotel’s event centre was decked out in rainbow flags Sunday afternoon as central Albertans celebrated Pride by the Park, which marked the beginning of this year’s Pride Week.
“We need to move forward with diversity and inclusion,” said Lenny Gallant, Central Alberta Pride Society board chair.
“We’re working to educate people as to why we have pride and what pride really is. It’s about education and we’re really showing that we’re a diverse community and we need to keep working.”
Gallant said the society’s board members were thrilled by the turnout to the first event of the week.
“We’re absolutely excited to see the amount of people here. It’s more than we thought would show up – it’s a great turnout,” Gallant said.
“Everything was virtual last year – Pride in the Park, the drag show. We did it all in one day. You definitely don’t get the same warm, fuzzy feeling as actually being here in person. It’s good to see this turnout.”
Pride by the Park featured musical artists, comedians and other performers. Coun. Ken Johnston presented the official proclamation right before the event to kick off Pride Week.
There will be a series of virtual and in-person events throughout this year’s Central Alberta Pride Week – the exact details for certain events are still being finalized.
The Central Alberta Pride Society and the Red Deer Native Friendship Society’s Nanâtawihowin Two Spirit Project will host a Two Spirit teepee raising Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Asooahum Crossing in Red Deer. The public is welcome to attend this event.
The week will wrap up with the Queens of Screens virtual drag show on Saturday, featuring performances by Sparkle Emotion, Ruby Harte, Roxxie Cotton, DD Fierce, Kelli Eletrix and Lilliana Starlight. There will also be a pride service at Gaetz Memorial United Church at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Keep an eye on www.facebook.com/RedDeerPrideDays for more information.