CANMORE – Ready, set, Pride.
It started with a simple question, “Why is there no Canmore Pride?”
That question was posed by Sarah Perritt and other members of Canmore’s LGBTQ2S+ community after the Town installed the Pride crosswalk in May.
“As a community we have come a long way, but there is definitely still a lot of work to be done and I think it’s a lot about education as well,” said Canmore Pride co-chair Perritt. “There is a really wide spectrum of queerness and we really want people to understand that.”
That simple question led to the formation of the Canmore Pride Society and has snowballed into the mountain town’s first Pride week.
There will be a wide range of festivities for people of all ages to enjoy, said Perritt. The inaugural Pride week will start on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. with the raising of a Pride Flag at the Canmore Civic Centre.
“If people are aware this is a safe space – that people are welcoming – then that’s really important,” said Perritt about the Town’s support for the festival.
Other notable events throughout the weekend celebration include Queer History Hour at the Canmore Museum, beers with queers at Sauvage, drag queen story time and speeches from members of the LGBTQ2S+ community followed by a parade through downtown.
“We really wanted to focus on education this year, which is why we have the queer history at the museum and stories at artsPlace as well,” said Perritt.
Fesivalgoers can also participate in the Pioneer Scavenger Hunt, The Gay Agenda Pub Crawl, Meditation & Mindfulness in the Park, Two-Spirit Performances, and Outdoor Adventure Bike Ride. One of the festival’s only ticketed events is the drag show, hosted at BLAKE.
Perritt said organizers are working on modifying some events and schedules in accordance with new public health regulations, which include mandatory masking in all indoor public spaces and a liquor sales curfew.
Last year Tracy Little, the chef at Sauvage, hosted the Prism Party, the first Pride event of its kind in Canmore. Perritt said the Prism Party helped to serve as a sort of foundation for this year’s event to take place.
“Tracy is an amazing ally… it’s amazing what she has done for our community and what she is still doing for us.”
While the festival is only four days, Perritt is hopeful the Canmore Pride Society will continue to work beyond the upcoming festivities. She hopes to host a monthly Pride event throughout the year.
“Calgary Pride, Banff Pride, Morley Pride – we all work together for the same purpose and that’s to create a safe environment, create visibility and welcoming people that may be struggling.”
Visit canmorepride.ca for more information or to buy tickets for certain events.