Drag performers will be returning to slay at the Fernie Alpine Resort this year to help shine a spotlight on suicide awareness and raise funds for the Elk Valley Suicide Task Force.
A week of events intended to educate people about suicide, grief, outreach and community supports will precede a gaggle of Drag Queens and Drag Kings doing laps of the Mighty Moose at FAR on Friday, Mar. 11 from 4pm onward as part of an hours-long ‘Dragathon’.
It’s a return to the event in 2021, which raised over $10k for suicide awareness, but now spectators will be welcomed and there will be a whole lot more performers ready to brighten up the slopes – and there will be plenty more events in the lead-up, too.
“It’s pretty similar to last years event, but now with COVID restrictions easing, it’s a lot more flexible, and can be a bigger event,” said returning performer and Drag Queen, Isabella GiaV, who said they had at least ten Drag Queens and Drag Kings lined up to wow Fernie and help break the stigma around suicide and mental health.
“We can invite people to come and watch. Performers are going to be a big part of it, and there’s going to be a show on the side of the hill.”
The dragathon will be kicked off with a fabulous catwalk challenge, there will be a DJ, and each performer will be performing a talent during the dragathon – which like last year involves doing as many laps of the Mighty Moose as possible.
“This year the Elk Valley Suicide Task force is raising money to create suicide support services that fill the mental health gaps that are in the community, and create different support services that reach everyone, and embrace mental health conversations as well,” said GiaV.
Events in the lead-up up the dragathon include an ‘art cleansing session’ at the Arts Station, where participants can create, and then destroy their own art as creative therapy. There will also be mental health themed trivia at the Fernie Hotel,Drag Storytime at the Library and more.
A hit from last year was the Downtown Drag Walk, where Drag Queens and Kings pound the pavement talking to locals and businesses about mental health and suicide.
“Last year when I walked up and down second avenue with a couple of Queens … we talked to so many different people about suicide,” said GiaV.
GiaV said that while the dragathon was a fun (and loud, and bright) way to raise awareness around suicide and mental health, the real heroes were the Elk Valley Suicide Task Force and the work they did to support mental health in the valley. “It’s great to work with them again.”
There’s a GoFundMe account set up for direct donations, and donations can be made at events through the week leading up to the Dragathon. All funds raised go directly towards the development of community support services.
For more information on the event, and the cause, visit the Elk Valley Suicide Task Force website at evstf.ca.
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