Calgary Pride Festival returns with murals, virtual parade, food trucks and more
The Calgary Pride Festival kicks off Friday, and new art installations by LGBTQ artists and special events help shine the spotlight on the community.
Calgary Pride has partnered with the city, Calgary Arts Development and Shaw Communications to create four temporary art murals at the four corner entrances of Central Memorial Park.
The park is also the site of the city’s first pride rally in 1990. Elliot Rae Cormier of Calgary Pride says it’s an important indicator to show how far they’ve come.
“The historical significance of these murals and painted sidewalks in this area is a nod to those who came before us, to what we do now and how we move forward as a community,” said they stated.
Cormier adds that having an art installation at the heart of Calgary’s belt line shows visibility, inclusion and diversity.
“I hope this will provide opportunities for conversation and dialogue with people who might not understand the meaning of the Pride movement or why it is so important.”
On Friday, the festival kicks off with food trucks in East Village, then moves on to a collection of in-person and virtual events to follow.
Sumit Munjal, director of programming and production at Calgary Pride, says the festival has adapted the format to accommodate the new reality of life with COVID-19.
For example, the famous pride parade will be virtual this year.
“We understand that this year we cannot walk the streets with thousands of people,” Munjal said.
“We have our community partners and our sponsors doing virtual messages… [so a] mix of digital and live performances [accommodates] people who still don’t feel comfortable being there in person but still want to celebrate pride. “
“Still a lot to do”
Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters on Thursday that while the pride festival can be a celebration, rainbows and weird outfits, it is also a political movement.
“A lot of people think the difficult human rights battles have already been won, especially when it comes to our LGBTQ rights, or as I prefer to say, the rights of people of gender and sexual diversity. said, there is still a long way to go. Trans people still face discrimination almost everywhere they go.
One of the artists who painted a mural at Central Memorial Park, Mackenzie Bedford, says it’s important to keep the conversation going around Pride.
“I think, to sum it up really quickly, I was painting around the corner last week and someone on a bike walked past me and shouted at me that it was a sinful lifestyle,” he said. Bedford said.
“We always have to be loud. We always have to protest and come together once in a while because sometimes people still don’t get on board.”
The pride festival runs from Friday to September 6.