By Leah Scheitel
Special to the Pioneer
The Columbia Valley is going to be a bit more festive in the coming weeks, as it prepares to celebrate Pride in the Park. The all-ages event is open to anyone in the community and will be a celebration of LGBTQ2IA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Asexual etc.) people in the Columbia Valley.
This is the second year Columbia Valley Pride has hosted the Pride in the Park event, and they have relocated the event to accommodate for more people.
“This year, to ensure it was more accessible to everyone, we decided to apply to use one of the District of Invermere’s parks,” said Tara Woods, one of the Columbia Valley Pride founders. “There will be a barbecue, vendors, live entertainment, activities for all ages, and a silent auction.”
Accompanying Pride in the Park are two other events to help make it a full weekend of festivities.
“On Friday, June 14th, our friends at ULLR are hosting a Gay Pride Fashion Show, featuring outfits from Fire Vixen Emporium, Her Public, and other local businesses. The fashion show will be emceed by April Storm and Chi Chi, two of our favourite drag queens,” said Ms. Woods, adding that a dance party will follow the performances. The event, which starts at 9 p.m., has no cover charge, but is a 19 and older party.
The evening following Pride in the Park will feature a drag performance at the Horsethief Pub and Eatery. Drag performers April Storm and Chi Chi will be joined by Felicia Bones and Sierra Vanity for a memorable performance to close out the weekend’s festivities. According to Ms. Woods, the drag shows at the Horsethief are “always incredible and sell out early.” This is the only event of the weekend that requires tickets in advance, which can be found at Horsethiefpub.ca/events.
Ms. Woods credits working with a team of six core members to pulling off a pride event in the Valley, each of whom, she says, are “all integral to making the magic happen.” She also recognized the other organizations in the Columbia Valley that work as support and resources for LGBTQ2IA+ people, especially the local youth.
“The Columbia Valley Youth Network has been great for connecting youth to resources and has partnered with us before and will be generously volunteering their time on Saturday to run activities for youth,” she said. Woods also mentioned the resources at the OPT Clinic for Sexual Health and Bradford Counselling for their support of the LQBTQ2IA+ community.
Columba Valley Pride has also partnered with ULLR Bar to host Queer Musical Bingo on the last Wednesday of every month, to celebrate a little bit of pride all year long.
Pride in the Park will take place on Saturday, June 15th, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Pothole Park. To find out more about this event, or the other two events to celebrate pride in the Valley this month, visit Columbia Valley Pride’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/columbiavalleypride.
This story has been edited from its original version.