Five-year-old Riley White, right, and her sister Bella, three, wave rainbow flags at the Pride in the Park celebration at Bower Ponds Saturday, during Central Alberta Pride Week. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Central Alberta Pride Week shows people it’s ‘OK to be who you are,’ says society chair

Sunday’s Fruit Float cancelled

Bower Ponds was filled with waving rainbow flags, as hundreds showed their support for the LGBTQ+ community.

The annual Pride in the Park was held Saturday afternoon – the event was one of the final ways Red Deerians could celebrate Central Alberta Pride Week.

“This week has been amazing,” said Shannon Humphrey, chair of Central Alberta Pride Society

“I think the biggest thing that comes out of this week for us is to see so many people showing support in our community. We live in an amazing place. We’ve got … amazing allies right here in central Alberta and that really showcases how accepting and diverse our community is here.”

A fruit float was originally scheduled to be the final event of the week on Sunday, but it was cancelled due to river and weather conditions.

Pride Week is about equal rights and creating a safe space for everyone within the community “regardless of who you are,” said Humphrey.

“We have Pride Week to show people that it’s OK to be who your are, to be who you are loudly and to be who you are proudly. You don’t have to be afraid to leave your house.”

Pride Week, especially Pride in the Park, continues to grow every year, Humphrey added.

“The amount of vendors we have at Pride in the Park now, versus the amount of vendors we had two years ago is almost triple. Every year the events grow and we’ll have more people come out. The more people who come out to these events, the bigger the events will be in the future.”

The Central Alberta Pride Society is planning to host events to help educate people in the area, said Humphrey.

“A lot of it is just starting and having those conversations, even when they’re uncomfortable,” she said.

“It’s about breaking misconceptions and breaking the stereotypes. At the end of the day, so many people are our allies, but they don’t identify as allies because they don’t realize that they are. Or maybe they don’t realize the thing that they’re opposed to is a bit of a misconception.”

A number of Central Alberta Pride Week events were held this year, including a comedy night, a burlesque show and a drag show.

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There were several booths, live music and more at the Pride in the Park celebration at Bower Ponds Saturday, during Central Alberta Pride Week. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

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