Hundreds attend inaugural Pride in the Park

Tara Lynn Leclair poses with her kids Jaxson and Juliette as they prepare to walk their dog Maverick during the Big Gay Dog Walk. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Tara Lynn Leclair poses with her kids Jaxson and Juliette as they prepare to walk their dog Maverick during the Big Gay Dog Walk. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Sevi Taylor plays in the park with Score 4 and hula hoops. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Sevi Taylor plays in the park with Score 4 and hula hoops. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Amy Jordaan left, Emma Donnelly, Allegra Margadant, Jordan Tucker, and Noelle Lamoureux represent the Peter Skene Ogden Amnesty Club at the first Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Amy Jordaan left, Emma Donnelly, Allegra Margadant, Jordan Tucker, and Noelle Lamoureux represent the Peter Skene Ogden Amnesty Club at the first Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Event co-organizer Sabrina Zezza right, and husband Jaden Zezza came to the park with their dog Diogee. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Event co-organizer Sabrina Zezza right, and husband Jaden Zezza came to the park with their dog Diogee. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Shane Mikkelsen dances to a song in the park with rainbow ribbons at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Shane Mikkelsen dances to a song in the park with rainbow ribbons at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Shane Mikkelsen shows off his dance moves during a song. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Shane Mikkelsen shows off his dance moves during a song. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Everly Archie holds her crayons at the colouring booth set up for younger children at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Everly Archie holds her crayons at the colouring booth set up for younger children at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Ryan Dugaro left, Jay Fabro and Tyler Dixon hang out at the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre booth. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Ryan Dugaro left, Jay Fabro and Tyler Dixon hang out at the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre booth. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Lily-Anne Henderson left, Kailey Glotze and Kade Spender hang out by the Cariboo Gender Support booth at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Lily-Anne Henderson left, Kailey Glotze and Kade Spender hang out by the Cariboo Gender Support booth at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Abb’original, also known as Morgan Whitehead performs a Willow Pill tribute at their first Pride event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Abb’original, also known as Morgan Whitehead performs a Willow Pill tribute at their first Pride event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Morgan Whitehead, whose drag name is Abb’original, performed his first emcee gig in drag at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Morgan Whitehead, whose drag name is Abb’original, performed his first emcee gig in drag at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Mikara Pettman gives away Pride swag and provides information at the Cariboo Gender Support booth. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Mikara Pettman gives away Pride swag and provides information at the Cariboo Gender Support booth. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Mikara Pettman happily shares information and gives away swag at the Cariboo Gender Support booth for the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Mikara Pettman happily shares information and gives away swag at the Cariboo Gender Support booth for the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Husbands Steven and Jon Nicholson are overjoyed to be able to attend 100 Mile House’s first Pride event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Husbands Steven and Jon Nicholson are overjoyed to be able to attend 100 Mile House’s first Pride event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Husbands Steven left, and Jon Nicholson pose for a photo at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Husbands Steven left, and Jon Nicholson pose for a photo at the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Rowan Hermistan attended the Pride in the Park event with family last Sunday. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Rowan Hermistan attended the Pride in the Park event with family last Sunday. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Laurie Lesk moved to 100 Mile House about a year ago and was pleased to be able to attend the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Laurie Lesk moved to 100 Mile House about a year ago and was pleased to be able to attend the Pride in the Park event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Abb’original, Morgan Whitehead, took photos and spoke to attendees of the 100 Mile House Pride in the Park event after their drag performance. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Abb’original, Morgan Whitehead, took photos and spoke to attendees of the 100 Mile House Pride in the Park event after their drag performance. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Abb’original, Morgan Whitehead tried out the playground equipment during a scavenger hunt at the 100 Mile House Pride event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Abb’original, Morgan Whitehead tried out the playground equipment during a scavenger hunt at the 100 Mile House Pride event. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Sarah Carter left, and sisters Junaya and Jasfia Nielson attended the Pride in the Park event last Sunday. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Sarah Carter left, and sisters Junaya and Jasfia Nielson attended the Pride in the Park event last Sunday. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Participants in the Big Gay Dog Walk took a stroll around the park. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Participants in the Big Gay Dog Walk took a stroll around the park. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Prizes were given out to competitors in the Big Gay Dog Walk. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Prizes were given out to competitors in the Big Gay Dog Walk. (Lauren Keller photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Close to 300 people attended 100 Mile House’s first-ever Pride in the Park event in Centennial Park last Sunday.

Chris Pettman who organized the event with Sabrina Zezza, said he was excited, proud and happy they were able to create space and represent the queer community.

“This is a really, really good start for 100 Mile House, and we’re super proud and happy,” he said. “This is community-driven and when I say community, I’m also talking about the LGBTQTS+ community.”

The event featured a day-long scavenger hunt and a Big Gay Dog Walk, in which participants brought pets – many of them dressed up – and received prizes as they walked around the park. There were also outdoor activities such as spikeball and ladder golf, and several booths, including one for younger children, so they could colour and learn. An informational Cariboo Gender Support booth and Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre booth also gave out swag such as pins and flags.

Emcee Morgan Whitehead performed a Willow Pill tribute at the event. Whitehead, who grew up in Saskatchewan and goes by the drag name, Abb’original, said their stage name is a play on Indigenous culture.

“Growing up on the reserve I never got to experience so many things like this before,” they said. “So it wasn’t until I moved to Vancouver that I got to experience more diversity in terms of different events, different communities, different friend groups… and different ways to communicate and make friends with the people I’m like.

”I feel like being here, even like five hours outside of Vancouver, I’m experiencing the true community of what it means to be queer.”

Attendee Jon Nicholson said he was surprised to see so many youth because when he was young “there were no other gay people in the world.

”I grew up in a small town where it was just never mentioned. It was underground, I kind of had to hide myself,” he said. “In those days it wasn’t even safe to be gay, so this is so great to see this.”

Laurie Lesk, who moved to 100 Mile House a year ago, said she was pleased to see a Pride in the Park.

“It is still illegal to be queer in so many countries in the world and illegal by punishment of death, and I’m not into labels, but until such a time as we can be free everywhere in the world, it’s important for us to be out and loud and very obvious,” Lesk said. “And we live in Canada and we can be queer here. We have to be. We have to be out about it for those reasons.”

Nicholson said they’re in a kind of tidal wave with the gay movement and trans movement. He said everyone just needs to accept it.

“Not only is it really great for the youth, but it’s also really great and validating for us after years of struggling. There was a really great place where the door opened and we were able to get out in public and talk to other people and even our families started to say that’s OK,” he said. “It makes me very happy.

“We happily named our movement pride, and I think that anybody who is gay and is not able to access that Pride needs to just have a tiny bit of courage and pick up some pride from us because we’ll share.”

Pettman said they already have bigger and better ideas for next year.

Whitehead, who noted this is their first Pride event ever, said they were enjoying themself even more so as a visitor than as an emcee.

“I think everyone here just wanted to get out and have an experience rather than go to an event.”



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter/p>

100 Mile HousePride