Red Deer is bursting with pride and has the rainbow crosswalks to prove it.
Early Monday morning, workers with the city’s Public Works department used red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple temporary paint — that should last about a year — to create two rainbow crosswalks across Ross Street at Little Gaetz Avenue in celebration of the upcoming Central Alberta Pride Week, Aug. 13 to 21.
“I’ve been in Red Deer for over 30 years and this is significant for me in terms of showing how far we have come as a community,” said Serge Gringas, co-chair of Central Alberta Pride Society, about the city’s first rainbow crosswalks on Monday.
“I think the community has come to realize who you are is who you are. We have to go through life and embrace people for who they are.”
Gringas said pride week organizers hope businesses will decorate their windows with flags and posters.
Deputy Mayor Dianne Wyntjes said the LGBTQ community is reaching out and it’s important for the city to show it is inclusive, welcoming, and says no to hatred.
“We’re excited. It’s another one of the activities and festivals that we can look forward to in our community,” said Wyntjes about pride week.
Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner said she really wanted to attend the rainbow crosswalk unveiling because it speaks to being an all-inclusive society.
“I think it looks awesome. I’m happy that Red Deer is one of the communities that is supporting the painting of the crosswalks. We have it in Edmonton and Calgary, and now we have it in Red Deer,” Schreiner said.
Joel Graham, Central Alberta Pride Society events co-ordinator, said it’s a great achievement to have rainbows of this size in Red Deer.
“It’s pretty spectacular, a very welcoming feeling. This means big things for the LGBTQ community here in Central Alberta,” Graham said.
“It adds so much colour down here. The energy in the neighbourhood is pretty electric.”
The city paid for the colourful crosswalks that cost about $700 for supplies, in addition to labour.
This year marks the fourth annual Central Alberta Pride Week and includes about a dozen events, from drag shows at the Golden Circle and Red Deer Legion, to LGBTQ documentaries at Carnival Cinemas.
Graham said it will be the biggest and best pride week so far, and the crosswalks will help to elevate the week to the next level.
For more information, visit www.centralalbertapride.ca or Central Alberta Pride on Facebook or @CentralABPride on Twitter.