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Celebrating Pride Week in Central Alberta

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

The annual "Fruit Float" - pictured during last year's event - will return as part of the 2017 Central Alberta Pride Week festivities. Central Alberta Pride Week runs Aug. 13-20, 2017, with events taking place in both Red Deer and Lacombe.
(Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)

The annual "Fruit Float" - pictured during last year's event - will return as part of the 2017 Central Alberta Pride Week festivities. Central Alberta Pride Week runs Aug. 13-20, 2017, with events taking place in both Red Deer and Lacombe. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)

Inclusion, diversity and acceptance will be celebrated Aug. 13-20 with Central Alberta Pride Week.

Now in its fifth year in the area, this year’s week promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

“We have a few more activities and events than we did last year,” said Serge Gingras of the Central Alberta Pride Society. “We tried to build on last year, finding ways to make things a little bigger and better.”

What initially started as a short weekend of activities in Red Deer, now spans an entire week. Venues for several events have had to change to accommodate for larger groups of people.

No event might be a bigger example of that than “Pride in the Park” which will serve as the kick-off to Central Alberta Pride Week. Normally held in City Hall Park, it will now be held at Bower Ponds from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday.

At 1 p.m. City of Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer will give a proclamation, followed by entertainment from a number of Central Alberta artists, including the Red Deer Trombone Choir, Michelle Laine, Randi Boulton, The KlamDaggers and 89. Food trucks, beer gardens, kids activities and even a yoga session will also take place.

Monday will see the rising of the rainbow Pride flag at Red Deer College during a 10:00 a.m. ceremony outside the main campus front entrance.

On Tuesday, Pride will move into Lacombe.

Painting for Pride will take place at the Michener House Museum at 10 a.m. The event will see the picnic tables painted in the colours of the rainbow flag.

“It’s an event that came out of Lacombe. It’s not something we organized, but we’re really happy to see that happening,” said Gingras.

“Of course being in Central Alberta, we draw from smaller centres but we’re really happy to see Pride events in happening in smaller communities. It shows that LGBTQ communities are not only in big cities. They’re everywhere.”

Later in the day, LacOMbe Yoga will host a LGBTQA Yoga session at 6 p.m. Admission is by donation.

Before then, however, a panel discussion on the aging LGBTQ community, and what they can expect in terms of health and wellness, home care and more, will take place back in Red Deer at the Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre at 1:30 p.m.

The Rainbow Block Party, hosted by the Trans and Non-Binary Aid Society, will be held at the West Park Activity Centre from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Featuring indoor and outdoor games and a charity barbecue, the event is family-friendly.

Later than night, from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. “Somewhere over the Rainbow Burlesque” featuring dancers from Edmonton and Calgary will entertain at the International Beer Haus. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance from 53rd Street Music.

Thursday will be the biggest day of the week, featuring RainBOWLING and a comedy night at Heritage Lanes, a Pride barbecue hosted by Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., and a human rights forum on understanding gender identity and expression in employment and services at the Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery from 8:30 until 12 p.m. Advanced registration is required for the forum with a fee of $52 plus GST.

A free ice skate will take place at the Penhold Multiplex on Saturday, and a drag show and dance will be held at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door.

On Sunday, festivities will wrap up with the annual “Fruit Float” down the Red Deer River, starting at 11:30 a.m. near the Kiwanis Picnic Shelter at Bower Ponds.

While this year’s Pride Week is probably the biggest week held in Central Alberta so far, the plan is to continue to expand and grow.

“I cannot imagine Pride Week getting smaller,” he said.

“What people are asking us now is if we’re going to have a parade. Right now, we don’t have the human resources or the money have one, but down the road, we may have one as part of Pride Week.”

For more information on Central Alberta Pride Week or the Central Alberta Pride Society, visit www.centralalbertapride.ca.

-abarrett@postmedia.com



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