A time to cel­e­brate

P.E.I. Pride Fes­ti­val 2017 wraps up to­day with a Pride pa­rade, Pride in the Park cel­e­bra­tion and a Pride af­ter Dark party

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MAU­REEN COUL­TER mau­reen.coul­ter@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/Mau­reenEl­izaC

Chelsey Roger­son said the Pride pa­rade in Char­lot­te­town is go­ing to be a big one this year.

Roger­son, com­mu­ni­ca­tions co-or­di­na­tor for Pride P.E.I., said they have re­ceived more than 150 in­di­vid­ual reg­is­tra­tions for the pa­rade.

She says she per­son­ally can’t wait to see every­one ex­press their in­di­vid­u­al­ity and cre­ativ­ity.

“We are re­ally look­ing for­ward to it,” said Roger­son. “We have a wide range of peo­ple that are go­ing to be in­cluded from po­lit­i­cal groups to re­li­gious groups to lo­cal busi­nesses to peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.”

The 2017 fes­ti­val kicked off last Sun­day at Trin­ity United Church with a ‘My love colours out­side of the lines’ theme and wraps up to­day with the pa­rade, Pride in the Park cel­e­bra­tion and a Pride af­ter Dark party.

The pa­rade mar­shal for this year’s Pride pa­rade is Danny Evans, a lo­cal hair­styl­ist in Char­lot­te­town.

“He’s re­ally been part of the com­mu­nity for over 30 years,” said Roger­son. “He is some­one that is very well know and he also dresses in drag and his drag name is Am­ber Flames.”

Roger­son said the at­mos­phere at the pa­rade is go­ing to be over­whelm­ingly happy.

“It’s re­ally a time to cel­e­brate who we are, cel­e­brate di­ver­sity, cel­e­brate in­clu­sion, cel­e­brate equal­ity and just let peo­ple have their mo­ment.”

Roger­son also feels the com­ments made re­cently by Paul MacGre­gor, owner of Skip’s Fish ‘n’ Chips, re­gard­ing the rain­bow-coloured side­walks have made more peo­ple step for­ward and show their sup­port for the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity.

“I think it has ac­tu­ally cre­ated more of a mo­ti­vated unity among the com­mu­nity to spread pos­i­tiv­ity.”

Roger­son said the fi­nal event, the Pride af­ter Dark party, is go­ing to one of the most “com­plex shows” they’ve ever had with per­for­mances by aeri­al­ists from Aerial Ware­house, the Char­lot­te­town bur­lesque group and off-Is­land drag queens.

“It will be a very in­ter­ac­tive night,” said Roger­son. “There will be a DJ and dance as well, so it will be just a re­ally fun way to cap off Pride week.”

Roger­son says she is happy to see that the P.E.I. Pride Fes­ti­val seems to grow ev­ery year, but she ad­mits more ed­u­ca­tion needs to hap­pen within the com­mu­nity.

Pride P.E.I. will con­tinue to ed­u­cate the pub­lic, she said, and of­fer a safe space for those in the queer com­mu­nity.

MAU­REEN COUL­TER/THE GUARDIAN

Shawna MacAus­land, left, Nima Mo­rady and Chelsey Roger­son, board mem­bers with Pride P.E.I., en­joy bowl­ing on Fri­day night at The Al­ley in Char­lot­te­town as part of the P.E.I. Pride Fes­ti­val 2017.

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