The first Airdrie Pride Festival in 2019 was one of the most rewarding and amazing days of my life. As the skies cleared after days of rain, the sun shone down on an event in our City that I never thought would have been possible.
Standing back to see over a thousand people come together for the Pride Festival in Nose Creek Park, the atmosphere had instantly transformed. There were heartwarming hugs between attendees, genuine smiles beaming across the grass and rainbow pathways, and more than anything, every face I saw was jubilant. Above the event (great music, inaugural Drag Show, supportive business booths, and bustling food trucks) overarching like a rainbow, was our collective sentiment of benevolence – an atmosphere that I had not experienced before in our City, even after having lived here for nearly two decades. As I spoke with others, I quickly appreciated that I wasn’t alone. For so many of us, we all for the first time felt at home.
It is within this positive retrospection that the Airdrie Pride Society has had to face the difficult reality that our 2020 Pride Festival and Solidarity Walk will not be able to occur in the same form as it did in 2019. As we all know, our community is currently in an intense battle against the COVID-19 virus. When the Airdrie Pride Board looked honestly at our festival plans, we realised that the most meaningful part of the day is the connections forged between all of us: the hugs, the handshakes and the general togetherness that so many of us experienced last year. Sadly, these are all of the things that we need to avoid right now to protect our family, friends and the community we call home.
After digesting our disappointment of not being able to reproduce last year’s festival, the Airdrie Pride Board pulled up our bootstraps and got back to work. We remain devoted to our top priority of supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community in Airdrie and surrounding area but realize that this year the celebration is going to have to look different. Together we began to brainstorm creative approaches to the celebration that encourage inclusion, social closeness and support while maintaining physical distance.
Here is what we came up with!
DISPLAY A RAINBOW FOR PRIDE MONTH!
In 2019 we filled Nose Creek Park with rainbows, and in 2020 we want to fill all of Airdrie with Rainbows. We are excited to announce our first “Pride on your Porch” contest! Throughout June, we are asking our fantastic City to decorate their front windows, porches and driveways with rainbows. We dream that the beautiful humans in the LGBTQ2S+ community will be able to drive, bike or walk anywhere in the City and find a rainbow of support. Throughout May, we will be providing downloadable images, colouring templates, and much more to make this easier for everyone to take part. Stay tuned for more details!
REINFORCE INCLUSIVITY IN AIRDRIE
Airdrie Pride has submitted official requests to the City of Airdrie once again to fly the Pride Flag through June. Additionally, we have requested for City Hall to be illuminated in the pride colours on June 28, 2020, the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. We felt that this is a moment to appreciate the progress the LGBTQ2S+ community has made while also recognizing the challenges that remain.
SUPPORTING AIRDRIE SMALL BUSINESS
The COVID-19 crisis is taking an unfortunate toll on a large number of businesses in our City. This year, Airdrie Pride is not looking for sponsor donations but instead we pledge to support and promote Airdrie businesses that help us celebrate Pride Month. Whether it be a Pride-Themed menu item, a Pride-tastic window display, or countless other Pride-inspired ways to celebrate, we want to encourage Airdrie businesses to “share the love” in our community in the hopes our community will return the favor. Airdrie Pride will be sharing stories of inclusive Airdrie businesses throughout Pride Month, and ask that you celebrate by giving them your patronage.
There is no question that it will be a different sort of Pride month this year in Airdrie. However, we remain optimistic that with your help, we can recreate last year’s collective sentiment that every individual is valued, safe and deserving of space in our City.
Stay tuned for more details to come!