Brandon Pride took over Princess Park Saturday with their annual Pride in the Park event. Live music, free barbecue and lots of booths full of information and merchandise attracted an estimated 40 people to the fifth year of Pride festivities.
This year the theme for pride was Colour Your World With Pride. Chairperson Ken Jackson said it is important to remember the places and people who are unable to have Pride celebrations.
"We have pride for those who can’t," Jackson said. "While we want to celebrate our uniqueness, we also want to emphasize that we are standing with those around the world, too."
Pride celebrations kicked off Thursday with the largest crowd to date gathering at city hall to raise the rainbow pride flag.
The flag raising and Friday’s Lunch and Learn events were both put on by the local Sexuality Education Resource Centre.
Bradley West, LGBTQ program co-ordinator for the centre, said that the lunch event was at full capacity at the Riverbank Discovery Centre.
"It is attended mainly by professionals and agencies, sometimes university students," West said. "We respond to the needs of the community and if more people want to take part next year, we will find a bigger space."
Jackson has seen the growth in both the size of Brandon’s pride celebrations and the perception from the community.
"We have a float in the Travellers’ Day Parade each year as a way of showing ourselves as part of the bigger community," Jackson said. "To see the good reactions increase in Brandon and the people waving and cheering for us is a great feeling."
Brandon Pride is a way to celebrate the uniqueness of individuals and also raise awareness of resources and groups that operate year round in the city.
"This is important especially for people that aren’t out yet," Jackson said.
Pride in the Park showcased a variety of these resources and organizations.
PFLAG is a support group for parents and families of the LGBTQ community. They have been active in the Wheat City for almost 25 years and have a booth each year at pride.
"It is often a new thing for parents because their child has had the time to process their sexuality before telling the parents," said PFLAG member Laura Crookshanks. "It isn’t that they are upset necessarily, they just want to talk."
The support group meets once every month to six weeks except in the summer. Crookshanks often speaks to parents before their first meeting to explain what goes on.
Other pride events included the sold out Colour Your World With Pride Social, an all ages bowling night and a church service put on by Knox United Church.
The committee was impressed with the turn out to all the events.
"People are always asking if we want to do our own parade," Jackson said. "It is something that we talk about a lot and something to strive towards. We don’t have the numbers yet, but we are working towards that."
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