After several pandemic-caused postponements, Kelowna’s 2021 Pride Week is officially underway.
It’s been more than two years since the last in-person Pride celebration in Kelowna, with 2020’s events largely cancelled and 2021’s having been pushed several times.
“We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve had to pivot due to COVID-19, but we know we’re not alone in that,” said Dustyn Baulkham, the general manager of the Kelowna Pride Society.
“So much work has gone in behind the scenes, and we’re all thrilled that Pride Week is finally here.”
From Oct. 22 to 31, a number of Pride festivity events will be hosted in the downtown area. The Kelowna Pride Society said that the theme for this year is “25 Years of the Pride Movement – The Work is Not Done.” Events include:
• Downtown Bike Derby and Beers for Queers at Jackknife Brewing (727 Baillie Ave.) on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 5:15 p.m.
• Trans + Non-Binary Storytelling Evening and Social at the Rotary Centre for the Arts (421 Cawston Ave.) on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
• 2021 Kelowna Pride Festival on the Rotary Commons (outside the Rotary Centre for the Arts) on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. — this will include a family mask-making workshop led by local artist Jes Thickson in the centre’s atrium
• Pride Cabaret at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Outside of the Pride Cabaret and mask-making worship, all events will be free to attend. With this being the first year that Pride events will be held at the Rotary Centre for the Arts (RCA), the centre’s executive director Colleen Fitzpatrick said that she’s looking forward to hosting Pride festivities.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Kelowna Pride to the RCA,” said Fitzpatrick. “This is a perfect way to celebrate connection and community after such a difficult and challenging summer.”
While there is no Pride March on this year’s schedule of events due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Kelowna Pride Society said that the bike derby will serve as the creative alternative.
The event is open to anyone who can ride a bike, and residents are invited to show up in their best Pride threads. The Society is also requesting that attendees RSVP in advance. Like last year’s festival, all events will be streamed on Unicorns.LIVE.
“I think we all need a safe celebration after the last 18 months. Pride is open to anyone who wants to honour love, inclusivity and acceptance,” said Baulkham.
“Whether you’re able to join us in person or from home, we hope Pride brings a little joy into your life over the next week or so.”