Categories: Arts & Culture, Festivals/Events, Free, Kid-Friendly

How to Make the Most of the PEI Pride Festival (July 22 - July 28, 2018)

Charlottetown's pretty colourful all year-round, but the last full week of July, the capital city gets saturated with ALL the colours of the rainbow thanks to the PEI Pride Festival!  Celebrating its 24th anniversary this year, the PEI Pride Festival takes place July 22nd to 28th culminating with the ever-popular PEI Pride Parade in downtown Charlottetown and Pride PEI's annual white party (you don't want to miss this year's star guest!) on the 28th  Every year the PEI Pride Festival gets bigger, but this year in particular it seems to have gone through a growth spurt, offering more events across PEI than ever before and a broader scope of activities for everyone from beer-lovers to trivia mavens.  Check out our tips on how to make the most of PEI’s Pride Festival while visiting Charlottetown and be sure to check out events taking place in other parts of the Island too!  

1. Wear Your Pride

Photo Submitted by Pride PEI. 

The rainbow flag is, without a doubt, the most widely recognized symbol of LGBTQ around the world. Created by gay rights activist and artist, Gilbert Baker, in 1978 for the Gay Freedom Pride Parade that year in San Francisco, the flag originally had 8 colours. Eventually for practical reasons (e.g. costs of certain colour dyes) the flag was amended to 6 colours.  Baker assigned a specific meaning to each colour: Red for Life, Orange for Healing, Yellow for Sunlight, Green for Nature, Blue for Harmony and Violet for Spirit. Baker’s flag was an instant hit and remains an enduring symbol for the  LGBTQ2S+ community.

Photo Submitted by Pride PEI. 

You’ll certainly see your fair share of rainbow flags at the PEI Pride Festival, but you’ll also see plenty of folks taking wardrobe cues from the flag to show their pride and support for the community. So why not rummage through your closet and pull out those bright orange pants you’ve been wanting to wear, pair them with a purple top and maybe some blue accessories?  As for the kids, we’re pretty sure they’d love to have rainbows face painted on their cheeks!

Photo Submitted by Pride PEI. 

2.  Try Something New!

There are a tonne of Pride events taking place all week long at venues across PEI. We like to think that the PEI Pride Festival is the perfect opportunity to get a little outside your normal routine and check out some events that you might not typically have a chance to experience.  For example, have you ever been to a poetry slam?! The PEERs Alliance will host their OUTspoken Poetry Slam event on July 26 at the Confederation Centre Library (7 - 9PM).  This free all-ages event celebrates our community’s diverse sexualities through collaborative, inclusive, poetic storytelling. Participants are asked to explore what healthy sexuality looks like for them through ‘slams’ of four minutes or less.

Source: Facebook

Or how about attending a PrideTalks! Panel to learn more about the Supreme Court’s 2001 and 2018 decisions regarding Trinity Western University’s accreditation by law societies? Hosted by Stewart McKelvey at the Old Triangle on July 25th (4:30-6PM), this panel will  explore the history of queer rights in Canada and the impact of the Trinity Western University trilogy on the LGBTQ community. Free, 19+
 

3.  Experience the Familiar...with a Colourful Twist

Photo Submitted by Pride PEI. 

Sure you’ve tried your hand at bar trivia on occasion, but what about drag queen trivia? Give it a whirl at Mavor’s, where you can join trivia host Demona DeVille on July 25 at 8PM for a night of laughs, fun, learning and, of course, prizes and drink giveaways!

And speaking of drinks...why not partake in a pride-inspired beer at Upstreet Craft Brewing. Upstreet has been busy brewing a new batch of their famous ‘Rainbrew’ for this year’s Festival! With a 1700L run compares to last year’s 80L batch, there should be plenty of beer love for everyone! The Rainbrew tap starts flowing at noon on Sunday, July 22nd at Upstreet’s midtown brewery location.
 

4. Get Thy Family to the Pride Parade!

Photo Submitted by Pride PEI. 

The PEI Pride Parade is always a highlight of the Festival, offering an opportunity for the LGBTQ2S+ community to come together for a fun, safe and supportive celebration.  The parade is, as one would expect, a colourful extravaganza filled with decked-out floats, dressed up folks, upbeat music and lots of love and pride. Be on the lookout for this year’s parade marshals too: Demona DeVille (Josh Borges) and Whatshername (Nicholas Whalen).

Photo Submitted by Pride PEI. 

Spectators are encouraged to line the streets of downtown Charlottetown and cheer on the paraders! Bring along chairs, sunscreen and water for an extra comfy parade experience! The parade begins at 12pm in the parking lot off Terry Fox Drive in Victoria Park and will end at approximately 2PM in Rochford Square

Photo Submitted by Pride PEI. 

After the parade is over, make your way  to Rochford Square for an all-ages Pride party featuring music, vendors and a food truck!

5. Close Out the Festival with clubCOUTURE and Ru Paul’s Drag Race  Glamour Toad Ginger Minj!

Make your way to the Delta Prince Edward on Saturday night (9PM - 2AM) for a Pride Festival finale you won’t soon forget: ClubCOUTURE Èdition En Blanc ft. Ginger Minj! PEI Pride's annual white party is going to be epic!  Hosted by clubCOUTURE, a Halifax-based business, the party will feature RuPaul’s Drag Race Glamour Toad Ginger Minj, along with several performers from the Maritimes!


The themed white party represents a blank slate of equality and party-goers are encouraged to wear their whitest, brightest, most outrageous outfits along with a twist of rainbow to celebrate PEI Pride and represent everything that the pride movement stands for. Advance tickets on sale at universe.com/clubcouture and tickets will also be available at the door.

6. Eat, Drink, Stay & Be Merry

Visitors to the Island may want to check out the PEI Gay Tourism Association’s social media channels and website for travel inspiration. The member-based organization is committed to serving the gay and lesbian travel market and its members must adhere to a Code of Ethics.  


Source: PEI Gay Tourism Association

During Pride Week the Association will be running an Instagram takeover featuring well-known LGBTQ2S+ Islanders including Aaron Hastletow of the Confederation Centre’s Jesus Christ Superstar and Chef Jane Crawford of HopYard and Sugar Skull Cantina. Follow along and you’re sure to get some insider’s tips on how to make the most of your visit to PEI!

7. Create a Safe Space

Photo Submitted by Pride PEI. 

It’s important as we come together to celebrate and partake in events/activities to remember that the goal of the PEI Pride Festival is to “provide safe space for queer individuals and show respect, and make space as required for more marginalized groups of the LGBTQ2S+ community,” as noted by the one of the Festival organizers, Mitchell MacLean.  So, whether you’re part of the community or want to show your support as allies, please do bear in mind at all times that it is everyone’s responsibility to create and maintain a safe space.

 

Photo Credit: Brady McCloskey Photography

 

Photo Credit: Lee Siegel