Rainbow crosswalks signal start of Central Alberta Pride 2018

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
August 9, 2018 - 10:42am Updated: August 9, 2018 - 11:51am

Travelling around Red Deer over the next week, you’re likely going to see a lot of rainbows.

Central Alberta Pride Week features a long line-up of events, many of which are family friendly, and organizers want the public to get involved.

Kicking things off Thursday morning was the unveiling of two rainbow crosswalks at Ross Street and Little Gaetz downtown.

This is the third year rainbow crosswalks are being installed and once again Fargey’s has donated the materials. Central Alberta Pride is also paying around $2500 for the labour.

“Even though the crosswalks do cause controversy, it’s that controversy and the burnouts that get done on them that illustrate how far we still have to go and why we're still fighting,” says Events Chair Shannon Humphrey, who adds she was called a slur just last weekend while attending the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose with her partner.

Brad Makarenko with Fargeys Decorating Centre

“A lot of people in our community do experience those negative comments when they’re out in public,” she continues. “They’ll be holding hands with their partner and there’s this fear that you’re going to get called names or someone’s going to have an issue. You’re very aware of your surroundings.”

Humphrey says Pride is considering applying in the future to make the crosswalks permanent, though it would mean raising upwards of $10,000.

This year, the Fruit Float is going to be bigger and better, according to Humphrey. Those interested are invited to meet Sunday morning for an 8 a.m. launch from Fort Normandeau. The approximately two-hour float will end at Bower Ponds where Pride in the Park begins starting at 10 a.m. and runs all day with live music and entertainment, a beer garden and mayoral proclamation.

Among other events like the TANAS Block Party, the Coming Out in Faith Monologues and Discover Pride, a family event at Discovery Canyon, is the Drag Show and Dance at the Sheraton.

Organizers are selling more than 800 tickets to the this year’s drag show which will feature Derrick Barry of RuPaul’s Drag Race and America’s Got Talent fame.

On the importance of having Pride Week, Humphrey says it’s important to remember why the movement began in the first place.

“Pride started as a riot. It was very much a movement from the community against suppression, it was a protest against police brutality, and against people not being accepted as themselves,” she says. “A lot of people, when they think about Pride, they think about parades and colourful, and for some it means getting drunk and debauchery, but that’s not what the intent of Pride was.

“At the end of the day, Pride is just like the rainbow crosswalk, a symbol of inclusion, love and acceptance.”

Visit the Central Alberta Pride Facebook page for a full listing of Pride Week events.

The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Red Deer division, which includes BIG 105.5, 106.7 The Drive and rdnewsNOW is a proud sponsor of Central Alberta Pride Week 2018.

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