If there’s one thing that Edmontonians know best, it’s the annual Edmonton Pride Festival! Around these streets, you can call it “Pride” – we will usually know what you are talking about!
Since it was formed in 1999, the Edmonton Pride Festival Society has organised the Festival, which occurs in Old Strathcona over the span of about 10 days each year – often at the beginning of June. The driving forces behind the organisation are a Board of Directors, a Festival Manager, and a team of dedicated volunteers.
The original Pride Festival was held way back in 1980 with a small collective of about 75 individuals who actually hid their identities in fear of losing their friends or jobs. Oh, how things have changed! Over the course of the following decades, activities like film festivals, poetry readings, rallies, and the iconic Pride Parade were introduced! Through these activities, most of which are suitable for all ages (except for the beer gardens), the Edmonton Pride Festival unites and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community.
The Pride Parade occurs near the beginning of the festival, often the first Saturday in June. If we were to use only a few words to describe the Parade, they would be bright, colourful, and loud. Very loud. Let’s be honest. It’s basically one big party that goes from 108 Street all the way down Whyte Avenue, up 104 Street, and finishes at the End of Steel Park. If you get a good view, you might just be thrown a couple of goodies from the people participating in the parade! Watch out for the partial nudity!
For an event that began with 75 people, it is astounding to think that the annual Edmonton Pride Festival has grown to tens of thousands of participants. This truly goes to show how Edmontonians show resilience in the face of adversity. This powerful and robust city will let nothing stop them from promoting equality across all genders and sexualities.
Find Edmonton Pride on social (include their links to Facebook, IG, and Twitter). Share your photos and tweets with #yegpride to join the party!