Pride and Transgender flags wave on the lawn of Fernie’s City Hall. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Pride and Transgender flags wave on the lawn of Fernie’s City Hall. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Elk Valley Pride Festival around the corner

The 2022 festival will be from September 21 to 25

Contributed by Fernie Pride Society

You may have noticed a few more rainbows around Fernie lately and that’s because the sixth annual Elk Valley Pride Festival is back and once again ready to shower Fernie in love!

From September 21-25, the Fernie Pride Society is welcoming people of all ages, gender, and sexualities to celebrate Pride in the Elk Valley. Kicking things off on Wednesday, September 21 is the Ride with Pride Decoration Station hosted by The Arts Station. This event is in preparation of the now classic bike parade that leaves Fernie City Hall after the raising of the Inclusive Pride Flag for the duration of the Festival. The Bike Decoration Station will have all the supplies you need to get your two-wheeled steed ready to parade with Pride!

Also on Wednesday is the screening of Queering the Interior, a documentary by Amy Bohigian, Nelson, BC filmmaker and storyteller. Bohigian will be in attendance and interviewed by Angie Abdou after the screening. This important film pays tribute to the people and moments that defined the queer community in the Kootenays while paying tribute to the legacy of activism that led to the growing contemporary 2SLGBTQ+ population.

The jam-packed schedule of the Elk Valley Pride Festival is filled with things to keep you going all week. Thursday welcomes you to the Festival Opening Events. These include a Festival Welcome and opeing remarks, flag raising, bike parade, and the Rainbow Connections Pub Pride Picnic. All of these events happen at City Hall starting at 5:30pm with the Ride with Pride Parade departing for a tour down Victoria Avenue at 5:45pm. Wanting to keep your festivities going? Next, head to Fernie Distillers for Spirits & Songs featuring the music of Fernie local Anita Roloff.

Friday action doesn’t slow down either! Friday features Drag Story & Craft Time with Freida Whales and then Kevin Allen interviewing Robert Verigin, both events are at the Seniors Centre. For the teens out there, Kristy McKee will be Cooking with Queens and you are invited! This teen event is free and for those aged 13-17 and takes place at Fernie Secondary School. The evening activities kick off with Drag Paint & Sip at The Arts Station followed by the Never Nuff Drag Show at The Pub (these two events are 19+).

The weekend warms up with the Wheelie Out Queer Skate Jam co-hosted by Ladies on Edge and Edge of the World. 2SLGBTQ+ people and allies are welcome to join in the skate jam at City Hall starting at 11:00am. Give-aways and good times guaranteed, helmets and kindness are mandatory!

Also at City Hall on Saturday is Spectrum Queer Arts Day. This free, all-ages event features musical performances from Kimmortal, Hyaenas, and KP Smith, interspersed with the talents of six amazing Queens and a King! Refreshments will be available thanks to The Arts Station as well as local artist tables and information booths from our friends at TransConnect and Ankors.

Saturday evening gives your dancing feet a rest when you attend Rainbow Reads featuring Two-Spirit, transgender, Ktunaxa academic and poet Smokii Sumac. Smokii will read from his book, you are enough: love poems for the end of the world. Rainbow Reads is at the Fernie Heritage Library at 7pm.

The Elk Valley Pride Festival comes to a close on Sunday, September 25 and features Pride Pups at the Railyard Dog Park where you can meet up and start your Sunday in pup walking style. This is a super casual event so just show up and make some new human and canine pals!

Sunday also features an interfaith service at Christ Church Anglican at 10am, the Sunday Sip Drag Brunch at the Seniors Centre, and rounding out the weekend is Queers on Gears – a social group bike ride for queers and allies. Meet at the Aquatic Centre for a ride on the Ridgemont Trail Network.

Fernie Pride is so excited to welcome you to the Elk Valley Pride Festival and wish you and yours the best time ever! Together, we can create and connect a community that is safe, free, and equal.

For complete schedule info, follow Fernie Pride Society on social media. Tickets can be found on the Fernie Pride Society, The Arts Station, or Fernie Heritage Library Eventbrite pages.

READ MORE: Fernie Brewing and Fernie Pride collaborate to release limited edition brew and merch for pride festival



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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