'Pride' postponed to late October
The Kelowna Pride Society has announced that Pride Week 2021 is being postponed until the end of October. Pride Week will now take place from October 22 to October 30. The popular Pride Festival and March will take place on Saturday, October 30.
Organizers had been hopeful of hosting Pride Week this September, but COVID-19 case counts in the Central Okanagan and the subsequent health measures introduced by the Interior Health authority made a September celebration very challenging.
Ultimately, with health measures changing frequently and the uncertainty that such changes bring, the Kelowna Pride Society board voted to move the celebration in the hopes that the end of October will be a more suitable and certain time. KPS continues to observe provincial and local health orders and the guidance that is in place. All events and programming will follow the appropriate health directives.
The theme of Pride Week 2021 is ‘25 Years of the Pride Movement - The Work is Not Done.’ A nod to Kelowna Pride’s beginnings.
The last Pride celebrations before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic were the biggest in Kelowna’s history. More than 12,000 people attended the festival and march in downtown Kelowna in the summer of 2019. While those numbers aren’t expected this year, organizers hope 2021’s edition can be more of a return to normal following 2020’s scaled-back celebrations. Despite being scaled back, 2020's Kelowna Pride celebrations were among the few in-person, COVID-safe Pride festivities held anywhere in the world last year.
As with 2020, a variety of 2021’s events will be live-streamed for those who would prefer to watch from the comfort of their own homes.
Dustyn Baulkham, General Manager of the Kelowna Pride Society, wants to thank the community:
“We were all excited for a September celebration, but as the dates drew nearer, we realized we had to pivot, yet again. On behalf of the KPS board, I would like to thank the community for their patience and support. We're hopeful that the end of October will be a great time for Pride— Pride on Halloween weekend will be a blast—and we hope those who feel comfortable doing so will join us to celebrate Kelowna Pride 2021!”
There are more details to come. For now, the Kelowna Pride Society asks that you please save the week of October 22-30 in your calendars for Kelowna Pride Week 2021.
Earlier this year, the Kelowna Pride Festival won gold in Best of Kelowna 2021, being voted as ‘best festival.’