By Chadd Cawson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

This year will mark Columbia Valley’s third annual Pride Festival, to be held on June 25 from 12 to 4 p.m. The celebration of diversity and love will be held at the surrounding green space of CPR Lodge, located by Kinsmen Beach in Invermere. 

“We’re just rediscovering how to host events, while I can’t say we’ve made leaps and bounds in terms of scale, we’ve definitely got last year’s beat,” says Darian Ariss (she/her), board member since 2019 and recently-elected acting president. There will be a silent auction, vendors, live music, and activities for kids. An amateur drag show will run from 7 to 9 p.m.  

“We’re so very grateful to have an actual festival again this year,” says Ariss. “It’s important to us that we establish ourselves in the community and let the valley know that they’ve got allies and support here if needed. Finding queer spaces in small towns can be a challenge, especially for youth – you lose the nebulousness of the city, and it can be hard to live your truth. But we’re here, we’re always available to talk, and we’re excited to meet new people this summer.” 

June is Pride month (officially declared in Canada back in 2016) and is a time for Canadians to celebrate uniqueness and diversity in an inclusive environment for LGBTQ2IA+ communities. 

Columbia Valley Pride has been celebrating pride for the past five years and is currently comprised of eight, local active members. However, due to the pandemic, the last two years were celebrated differently, with brightly-decorated vehicles parading through town. 

“It’s such a relief to see people again, to be able to interact outside of a staticky Zoom meeting, to get to know someone as a person instead of their email address. I want people to know that the queer population here isn’t just a statistic. We’re a community and that there are absolutely people here – most of the populace, in fact – who you can be your authentic true self with,” she says. “Hopefully they can meet a few of them at our festival.”

The most amazing thing about the world we live in is its diversity. So let your rainbow flag fly, and come celebrate love and inclusive pride this Saturday. For more information on Columbia Valley Pride or the event, visit