The second annual Chestermere Pride event received an outpouring of support from the community, with over 400 attendees on June 30.
“It went really well. We were so pleased with the great community turnout,” said member of the Chestermere Pride Organizing Committee Natasha Goddard.
Chestermere Pride festivities began on June 28 with the repainting of the rainbow and transgender crosswalks, an open panel with gender and sexuality expert James Demere, and a screening of Beyond Gay.
On Sunday, everyone in the community was welcome and encouraged to attend Pride in the Park, enjoy a free BBQ, listen to a performance by Damase Elis, a family-friendly drag show, while children listened to a drag king and queen read children’s stories, got their faces painted, made crafts, and participated in other activities in the kids’ zone.
“We ended up running out of food because we had planned for fewer people, but we had a food truck there which was nice,” Goddard said.
She added, “We didn’t know we would have that size of a group. It was really a positive message to see that.”
Throughout the Pride in the Park event, Goddard and the Chestermere Pride Organizing Committee received a lot of feedback from residents attending the event.
“It went quite well; all of the feedback we had was all positive, which was good to hear. We had a really good day,” Goddard said.
“We had LGBTQ2SA+ members say it was a place where they could come out and talk to people with resources,” she added.
The Chestermere Pride Organizing Committee also had residents approach them who have family members or friends who are a part of the LGBTQ2SA+ community and were curious about their next steps in terms of acceptance.
“They came out, they were asking a lot of really good questions, and getting access to our resources,” Goddard said.
Pride in the Park opened the minds of people who don’t know much about pride and gave people an option to ask questions and find out what it really means, she added.
Healthy dialogue was encouraged during Chestermere Pride between different communities, it was a safe place to talk, and included everyone.
“It’s important for all communities to celebrate pride, we have a very diverse group of people living in Chestermere, and it’s good that there’s a venue to celebrate it,” Goddard said.
Although Chestermere Pride went exceptionally well, there are aspects to the event the organizing committee is potentially going to change for future years.
The organizing committee is considering hosting all of the pride events on one day, excluding the repainting of the rainbow and transgender crosswalks, having information sessions, and offering workshops during the year to keep the community dialogue open and ongoing throughout the entire year.
Without the continued support of everyone involved in the organizing committee, the community, and volunteers, Chestermere Pride wouldn’t have been as welcoming of an event as it was this year.
“Everyone was happy to come out. It was nice to have a positive outlook from the people we spoke to,” Goddard said.
“Pride was successful from the hard work of the committee. There were a lot of people who put in a lot of hours and were really dedicated to making it happen,” she said.