Fernie gets more rainbows for pride

Fernie Pride volunteers helping bring a little more rainbow fabulousness to downtown Fernie, just in time for the Elk Valley Pride Festival. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)Fernie Pride volunteers helping bring a little more rainbow fabulousness to downtown Fernie, just in time for the Elk Valley Pride Festival. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Pride voluntneer Catherine Crewe helping re-paint Fernie’s crosswalk for the pride festival. (Scott Tibballs /The Free PressPride voluntneer Catherine Crewe helping re-paint Fernie’s crosswalk for the pride festival. (Scott Tibballs /The Free Press
All the colours of the rainbow now adorn the 5th st and 3rd ave crosswalk in Fernie. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)All the colours of the rainbow now adorn the 5th st and 3rd ave crosswalk in Fernie. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Volunteers putting the finishing touches on the last crosswalk lines on 5th st and 3rd ave in Fernie. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)Volunteers putting the finishing touches on the last crosswalk lines on 5th st and 3rd ave in Fernie. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Fernie’s a little brighter this fall, with the city’s rainbow crosswalk intersection getting a touch-up thanks to volunteers.

The four crosswalks over 5th St and 3rd Ave get re-painted every year, with this year’s painting volunteer event well-timed for the beginning of the Elk Valley Pride Festival, which kicks off on September 21.

“For me it’s really important to claim space in the community,” said Fernie Pride Society president, Kevin Allen.

“Throughout history we’ve been invisible in the community. At the turn of the century Fernie city hall forbade any proclamation around pride, and now we’ve progressed to a point where the city supports pride initiatives like this.”

Permission to paint the crosswalks was given by the city, and volunteers got to work making the intersection fabulous while the occasional passer-by stopped to voice encouragement.

“Rainbow crosswalks are just beautiful in themselves,” said Allen. “But they’re also a symbol that our community supports diversity.”

Allen said that pride societies around Canada needed to keep claiming space and push back on opposition to the queer community.

“We have a lot of legal rights, but we haven’t won the hearts and minds of every Canadian, so we have a lot of work to do.”

The Elk Valley Pride Festival will be a five days of events starting on Wednesday, with a bike parade, drag story time, a skate jam, book readings, music, an interfaith service and more.

“People should be really excited for the pride festival,” said Allen. “I hope locals and visitors enjoy what we’ve got planned.”

For more detail on upcoming events, visit the Fernie Pride website.

READ MORE: Elk Valley Pride Festival around the corner



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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