More events, but still with a fam­ily-friendly fo­cus

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN nicole.sul­li­van@cb­

Syd­ney Pride Fes­ti­val 2017 com­ing soon.

Syd­ney Pride Fes­ti­val 2017 has new events, in­creased com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and new spon­sors, as the an­nual event con­tin­ues its growth trend.

One of the new spon­sors on board is Eastlink, which is broad­cast­ing the pa­rade live on tele­vi­sion Satur­day, Aug. 5. The pa­rade has grown so large that the route has been changed and grand mar­shals this year are the Eska­soni Pride com­mit­tee.

“We were like, ‘wow, this is what we have been work­ing to­wards,’” said Aaron La­hey, Pride Cape Bre­ton fes­ti­val di­rec­tor, when asked how he felt when he heard the news the pa­rade would be tele­vised.

“This year, we’ve had so many last­minute spon­sors come on board. It makes us feel like we are achiev­ing what we are try­ing to do.”

The fes­ti­val runs from Fri­day, Aug. 4, to Satur­day, Aug. 12, and kicks off with a flag-rais­ing cer­e­mony at the city hall at noon on the first day of the fes­ti­val.

The Pride Cape Bre­ton com­mit­tee is try­ing in­crease the com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and the num­ber of events at the an­nual fes­ti­val, now in its 16th year, by invit­ing non-com­mit­tee mem­bers to host and or­ga­nize events that Pride Cape

Bre­ton will pro­mote.

“In the past, Pride Cape Bre­ton has done all the events them­selves, so this year we were try­ing to en­cour­age com­mu­nity mem­bers to do events them­selves,” La­hey ex­plained.

It’s a model that works well for big­ger Pride fes­ti­vals, like the ones in Hal­i­fax and Toronto, how­ever, La­hey stressed Pride Cape Bre­ton is keep­ing their fam­ily-friendly ap­proach.

He gave an ex­am­ple: “When you look at Toronto Pride, our pa­rade is more fam­ily ori­ented … you aren’t go­ing to see half­naked men.”

What you are go­ing to see is the re­turn of some favourite

events like Dab­bing Out Bingo Mad­ness, So You Think You Can Drag and Movie in the Park.

There are some events added to the sched­ule like the Rene­gade Rain­bow Run at Open Hearth Park on Sun­day, Aug. 6, and the Hu­man Li­brary at McCon­nell Li­brary on Wed­nes­day, Aug. 9.

The Hu­man Li­brary is re­plac­ing story time. It’s a chance to find out in­for­ma­tion about the LGBTQ com­mu­nity from peo­ple in­stead of books.

“We have mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, from all dif­fer­ent walks of life, whether it be two-spir­ited, bi­sex­ual, les­bian, or ally, telling their sto­ries and

an­swer­ing ques­tions,” La­hey ex­plained, ex­cite­ment in his voice.

Another new event is the Evening of Re­mem­brance, also on Aug. 9, at Went­worth Park. It is a vigil in mem­ory of those in the com­mu­nity who have died. They are hop­ing to make it a per­ma­nent part of the an­nual fes­ti­val.

La­hey ex­plained why they wanted to add this event, “There’s a lot of peo­ple in ev­ery­body’s com­mu­nity, peo­ple in peo­ple’s lives that they have lost and th­ese peo­ple need recog­ni­tion.”

“It also brings peo­ple in the com­mu­nity to­gether and re­minds us why we still do this (Pride fes­ti­val).”

How­ever, this event and the oth­ers do more than bring the com­mu­nity to­gether. They also pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to help ed­u­cate peo­ple about the LGBTQ com­mu­nity, whether they are non-LGBTQ or youth who feel they are.

“This gen­er­a­tion that is com­ing up now, you are see­ing more and more di­ver­sity. Kids are com­ing out at a younger age. So I think Pride is so im­por­tant to ed­u­cate them,” La­hey said.

He added: “You are still go­ing to have peo­ple that don’t un­der­stand things in the com­mu­nity … I hear some peo­ple say, ‘Why do you still need it?’ All you have to do is log onto Face­book to be smacked in the face with rea­sons why you still need it. I think you will al­ways need Pride.”


In this file photo, Rouge Fa­tale, a drag queen based out of Hal­i­fax, gets a kiss from his mom, Kim Spurrell, be­fore the start of the Syd­ney 2016 Pride Fes­ti­val pa­rade.


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