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100 Mile House celebrates Pride

The second annual Party in the Park was joined by the community’s first Pride Parade

With plenty of love, laughter and rainbows, 100 Mile House’s first Pride Parade went off without a hitch.

A dozen floats proceeded down Birch Avenue on Saturday, July 29 with dozens of people cheering them on from the sidewalks. The parade made its way to Centennial Park where the second annual Pride in the Park kicked off with music, entertainment and games.

100 Mile Pride founder and lead organizer Sabrina Zezza said they felt incredibly lucky to be a part of organizing the event. Zezza remarked they had to go home briefly after the parade after being overcome with emotion.

“Watching the parade go down Birch Avenue was a highlight for me. I was literally choking back tears at the love and acceptance that we saw,” Zezza said. “I really feel that Pride is about celebrating diversity and inclusion and I really saw the community come together and embody that (Saturday).”

Zezza didn’t have a firm count on how many people attended Pride but estimated it was just under 300. This included Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson who made his way down from Williams Lake to show his support. Doerkson remarked upon the incredible turnout and that he thought it was a great event.

“I think the community has welcomed the event and I would say this has now become an annual event, I’d be shocked if it wasn’t,” Doerkson said.

Kelowna-based Drag Queen Ella Lamoureux, who was the MC for Pride in the Park, said she loves to see the sense of community in small towns like 100 Mile House. Lamoureux grew up in a small town herself in the 90s and recalled how they had nothing like this back then.

“Now that we have the space and the ability to make our voices heard, we can take up spaces in these parks to celebrate inclusion and love, it’s amazing and really beautiful to see,” Lamoureux said. “I’m very happy that I was able to come up here.”

When asked about the broader importance of Pride, Lamoureux referred back to its origins in the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Back then, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community meant being persecuted for who you are. In some parts of the world, this is still the case and she believes it’s important to keep this recent history in mind.

“We have so many people asking us why we’re still having Pride and it’s kind of crazy but those questions are the reason we have to still have Pride,” Lamoureux said. “We still have our brothers and sisters being catcalled in the streets, we still have trans people being killed for no reason and we still have so many injustices happening to Queer individuals.

“Having our own specialized events (like this) where everyone here is an ally, shows that we can be free. That’s the importance of Pride.”

Just under a dozen local community groups and businesses set up booths including the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy. The CCPL’s settlement and integration services and language coordinator Kimberly Vance-Lundsbye remarked the CCPL knew they wanted to be a part of it the moment they heard they were doing it.

“I think it’s important for non-profit organizations and businesses to show their support for these events so that people in the community know we’re a safe place as an organization. We welcome all people and we’re very inclusive,” Vance-Lundsbye said.

Like Doerkson, Vance-Lundsbye predicts the Pride Parade and Pride in the Park will only grow bigger as time goes on and will become a signature summer event.

Zezza thanked all the sponsors and supporters of Pride who helped make it happen. They are looking forward to next year and officially forming the 100 Mile Pride Society to help run future events.

“I can’t believe that I am a big part of creating this space where I hope that people will be able to feel comfortable being their true selves,” Zezza said. “By next year we’ll be our own society and will hopefully be having more events coming every year in the future.”

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Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in 100 Mile House.
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