Elk Valley Pride Festival kicks off in Fernie

The Festival kicked off with a bike parade from City Hall in Fernie on September 22. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)The Festival kicked off with a bike parade from City Hall in Fernie on September 22. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Rev. Canon Andrea Brennan speaking at the Elk Valley Pride Festival kickoff on September 22 in Fernie. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)Rev. Canon Andrea Brennan speaking at the Elk Valley Pride Festival kickoff on September 22 in Fernie. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Some Fernie Pride board members taste-testing the FBC’s Pride Collab Brew. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)Some Fernie Pride board members taste-testing the FBC’s Pride Collab Brew. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
The Pride Progress flag being raised at Fernie City Hall on September 22 for the Elk Valley Pride Festival. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)The Pride Progress flag being raised at Fernie City Hall on September 22 for the Elk Valley Pride Festival. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
The bike parade lead by Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza (Scott Tibballs /The Free Press)The bike parade lead by Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza (Scott Tibballs /The Free Press)

The 2022 Elk Valley Pride Festival kicked off on Thursday afternoon at city hall, with a modest crowd turning out to hear remarks from community leaders and witness the raising of the pride progress flag at city hall.

In welcoming remarks, Fernie Pride Society board member Melissa Creelman acknowledged those who had fought for 2SLGBTQ+ rights in the past, and those who celebrated them now.

“We’re building a just, equitable and beautiful future while acknowledging historic struggles and triumphs.”

With the City of Fernie hosting the kickoff event and leading the bike parade, Mayor Ange Qualizza said she was thankful that they had the opportunity to be a part of the event and acknowledged the work of the pride society.

“It feels more important than ever that we create these safe spaces of conversation and love and acceptance and tolerance,” she said.

Following the kickoff, two dozen bike riders set out for a bike parade around town on their pride-adorned bikes.

The Elk Valley Pride Festival continues through to September 25 and includes events around town. See the Fernie pride website for details.

Earlier in the day, the Fernie Brewing Company formally released its ‘Pride Brew’, which is a Fernie Pride Society and Fernie Brewing Company collaboration. The brew, on limited release, can be tried at the FBC tasting room for a very limited time.

A small contingent of Pride board members visited the FBC earlier in the day to taste test the beer and ensure it was up to their discerning standards. Their verdict was that it was fabulous.

READ MORE: Fernie gets more rainbows for pride



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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