Thank you to the Neighbourhood Small Grants for your support of Discovery Islands first annual Pride Festival. The money granted by you, as well as other individual and business donors, and that raised from the sale of t-shirts, Pride coffee and rainbow pizza slices, helped ensure that this event was a huge success.
The DI Pride organizing committee decided that we wanted to host DI Pride on Quadra Island in August so as not to compete with other Pride festivals on Vancouver Island. The organizing committee also decided to hold a Pride March from the elementary school to the festival site as a sign of visibility and inclusion.
To start the event, about 100 people marched from the school to the festival grounds behind the CCCU, as onlooked cheers us on from the side of the road. Over 300 people attended the festival. It seemed to be a mix of people from the Discovery Islands, from wider Vancouver Island who came over for the event and those who were visiting Quadra and heard about the event while they were here. Attendance and engagement with the event exceeded our expectations.
The festival was opened with a welcome from We Wai Kai, on whose lands we gathered. Lori Lewis welcomed us to her territory and shared her blessings for the day. We then had an array of musical acts, a drag performance, a sing along pop up choir and a DJ, hosted by two members of the Pride Organizing Committee.
In addition to the live entertainment, we had vendors, artisans and community groups table at the event. Patrons could buy The Clove’s rainbow pizza or DI Pride t-shirts, with proceeds going to DI Pride. There was button making, rainbow craft stations, face painting, hair design, tarot reading, a library book display and vendors selling Pride merchandise, jewellery and the like. Guests were invited to share what Pride means to them on a giant wooden frame that, fittingly, spelled the word Love.
Community organizations such as Foundry, CCCU and the volunteer fire department were also in attendance. There was a candy jar count and raffle, with prizes including a children’s book from Book Bonanza and a DI Pride shirt. Aroma’s gave away free rainbow cupcakes. Quadra Elementary and BC Ferries flew the Pride flags.
As you can see from the photos, it was a great day. I heard from a number of youth who were surprised and moved to tears about the outpouring of support for 2SLGBTQIA+ people in their community. As queer and trans folks growing up in small communities, often we feel that we have to move to larger urban centres to find acceptance and community. Events like the Discovery Island Pride Festival (and events we plan to do throughout the year) will hopefully help showcase 2SLGBTQIA+ support in our own community.
Thank you to the Neighbourhood Small Grants for your part in making out first year so successful.