BANFF – Banff Pride returns to the Bow Valley in October for a week of socially distanced events to celebrate diversity and the LGTBQ2+ community.
The event runs Oct. 4-11 and begins with a Zoom affirming ceremony with the Rundle United Church, a roller disco at the Fenlands hosted by the Lady Macs roller derby team and trivia at the Banff Springs bowling centre.
For volunteer and Banff resident Jeffrey Carpenter, this year's Pride includes a number of exciting events and partnerships with local organizations and businesses.
"Trivia night, a community yoga class, a cask beer night, a Pride movie night, drag comedy, Pride paint night, drag queen story time and drag brunches are just some of the events being planned," Carpenter said in an email.
"Our goal this year was to develop a schedule of events that attracted all ages and interests."
In addition to the lineup of events, Carpenter said Banff restaurants were challenged to feature a Pride-themed cocktail or dessert to add some diversity to their menus. He said residents should keep an eye out for local companies showing their pride in creative ways.
"Recently, with the support of Banff Lake Louise Tourism, local business have really stepped up their involvement with Banff Pride making it truly a community event," Carpenter said.
"Without the support of the Banff Hospitality Collective, Pursuit, Fairmont Banff Springs, the Radiant and many many other business, the small team of volunteers at Banff Pride wouldn’t be able to make this event such a success."
On Oct. 5, Banff Pride will host a rainbow walk along the Bow River pathway. It also gives organizers the opportunity to incorporate the new rainbow pathway installation near the pedestrian bridge.
Carpenter said the municipality worked with the local Pride committee to find the best location for a rainbow in the community after the one installed along Bear Street was removed as part of that road's reconstruction.
"It’s new and now permanent location next to the pedestrian bridge is a great spot as it’s accessible to all," Carpenter said. "A moment of surprise and delight for residents and visitors who cross the river and use the river pathways. It's a safe spot for people to stop and take photos as opposed to a busy downtown street.
"The rainbow path will stay cleaner year round without cars and tires going over it. Our hope is it will be an attraction of its own with that classic shot of Cascade right behind it."
Carpenter said over the eight-year history of Banff Pride, support from the community has grown, but it is important to recognize this must be kept up for the other 51 weeks on the calendar.
"While our annual Pride week celebration is important, inclusion and support of our LGBTQ2+ community is a year round commitment," he said. "Ensuring Banff is seen as a safe space for locals and visitors in the LGBTQ2+ community only enriches this beautiful place we call home."
Go to Banff Pride's website for more information.