Pride Week 2021 Has Arrived in Kelowna
It's officially Pride Week in Kelowna. After several COVID-19-related postponements, the Kelowna Pride Society is celebrating the launch of this year's official Pride festivities.
Kelowna Pride Week 2021 will run from October 22 to 31, with several key downtown Kelowna events on the agenda:
- Downtown Bike Derby and Beers for Queers at Jackknife Brewing (727 Baillie Ave.) on Tuesday, October 26
- Trans + Non-Binary Storytelling Evening and Social at the Rotary Centre for the Arts (421 Cawston Ave.) on Thursday, October 28
- 2021 Kelowna Pride Festival on the Rotary Commons (outside the Rotary Centre for the Arts) on Saturday, October 30—this will include a family mask-making workshop in the RCA Atrium led by local artist Jes Thickson
- Pride Cabaret at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on Saturday, October 30
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. With such an important milestone to mark, Dustyn Baulkham, General Manager of the Kelowna Pride Society, is delighted to see it all finally come together:
"We've lost count of the number of times we've had to pivot due to COVID-19, but we know we're not alone in that," says Baulkham. "So much work has gone in behind the scenes, and we're all thrilled that Pride Week is finally here. We hope the community will join us in celebrating Kelowna Pride Week 2021."
All events during Kelowna Pride Week 2021, aside from the Pride Cabaret and mask-making workshop, are free to attend. This is the first year that the Kelowna Pride Festival has been held at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, but the venue is no stranger to inclusive events, having hosted the Sugarplum Ball and the Out & Proud Film Festival, among other events, in the past.
Colleen Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Rotary Centre for the Arts, is looking forward to hosting Kelowna Pride 2021.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Kelowna Pride to the RCA," says Fitzpatrick. "This is a perfect way to celebrate connection and community after such a difficult and challenging summer.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there's no Pride March on the schedule this year. Still, the Kelowna Pride Society hopes community members will enjoy the creative solution they've come up with—the Downtown Bike Derby on October 26. The bike derby is open to anyone who can ride a bike, and KPS encourages community members to come decked out in their best Pride threads. The event is free to attend, but it is requested that attendees RSVP in advance, so KPS has an idea of numbers.
As with 2020's festivities, a number of 2021's events will be streamed on the Unicorns.LIVE platform for those who would prefer to participate from home.
"I think we all need a safe celebration after the last 18 months," says Baulkham. "Pride is open to anyone who wants to honour love, inclusivity and acceptance. Whether you're able to join us in person or from home, we hope Pride brings a little joy into your life over the next week or so."
Kelowna Pride Week 2021 is presented by TD with additional support from Kanata Kelowna Hotel & Conference Centre, Fido, BC Arts Council, Cyan Bold Design and the Province of British Columbia. The 2021 Kelowna Pride Festival marks twenty-five years of Pride in the Okanagan. Earlier this year, the Kelowna Pride Festival won gold in Best of Kelowna 2021, being voted as ‘best festival.’
Find out more about the Kelowna Pride Week 2021 through the organization’s official website.