By MICHAELA RITCHIE
Calgary Pride Week is set to parade into town once again! The annual festival celebrating LGBTQ history and resilience in our city, and all over the world, will take place from August 25 to September 4 this year, and with its arrival comes a bevy of exciting events to take part in. Join the party and bask in the rainbow glow of our city over the course of the week with these must-see attractions.
Calgary Pride Raft on the Bow
Start Pride off with a splash and join The Paddle Station for an afternoon of rafting and kayaking on the Bow River. Watercraft will be available for rent from $40 between August 25 at 4 pm through August 27 at 6 pm, with a portion of ticket purchases this year being donated in support of the Chinook Lesbian and Gay Endowment Fund. Paddlers of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations are welcome, and are encouraged to deck themselves out in the most festive colours they can!
FAB does GlobalFest
FAB Albearta is celebrating Pride Week with a bang at GlobalFest. Grab your blanket and some lawn chairs and take in the splendor of the fireworks finale on August 26 from 6 pm to 11 pm. FAB will be offering discounted tickets to the show at just $18. Attendees are invited to explore Elliston Park and the Sunbelt Rentals OneWorld Festival, where Calgary’s heritage communities will come together to display the diverse cultures of our city with food, dance, and other activities.
Family Pride BBQ
Rain or shine, nothing says community like a picnic in the park! Bring the whole family down to the Bridgeland Riverside Community Association and join organizers at the Calgary Chinook Lesbian and Gay Endowment Fund between 2 pm and 5 pm on August 27 for an afternoon of fun and games, special speakers, and free food and drink!
Queer Country Line Dancing
Of course Pride in Cowtown has to include a hoedown! Learn to swing your partner ‘round at Dickens Pub on August 30 with free instruction from dance pro Sean Buckley. Complimentary ASL instruction will be on hand at the event, which runs from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, with attendees invited to take over the bar afterwards for a long night of partying. Whether you have fancy feet, or two left ones, it’s time to get out on that dance floor and dominate!
Downtown Gay History Walk
Learn about the importance of Pride in our city with a stroll through the downtown core led by the Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen. Attendees are invited to meet up at the Hyatt Regency Calgary’s 8th Avenue Entrance at 7 pm on August 31. From there, the walk will spotlight political and social developments in our city’s rainbow-coloured past, with stops at locations of historical significance to the Calgary LGBTQ community. People of all genders and sexual orientations are welcome to take part, and attendance is free of charge. Can’t make the date? Catch round two of the walk through Calgary’s Beltline area on September 2.
Pride Weekend Kick-off Party
Turn up the beat at Twisted Element on September 1 with the official Calgary Pride kick-off party. Doors open at 9 pm on three separate tiers of dance, techno, and drag. DJ Nic Nemesis, previously featured at Chasing Summer, will make an appearance at the turntables, along with DJ Deko-ze, known for his fusion of house, tribal, and funk music. Starting at 10 pm, attendees are invited to see the likes of Terri Stevens and Justine Tyme at the upstairs drag show. Guests must be 18 and over with I.D. at the door. Cover charge is $10.
17th Avenue Roadblock Party
The Red Mile might be closed for construction between 2 St and 4 St SW, but the businesses that live there are open and ready to party! To celebrate Pride, a handful of 17th Avenue’s restaurants and bars will be offering discounted drinks and dishes on September 3, along with live entertainment, pop-up markets and more. The party will be on all day, from 11 am to 11 pm, so make sure to drop by Anju, Pigeonhole, Buttermilk, the Calcutta Cricket Club, or Model Milk throughout to enjoy some delicious discounts.
Calgary Pride Parade
You didn’t think we’d get away with not mentioning the Pride Parade itself, did you? Cap off your Calgary Pride calendar by taking part in this free signature event on September 3 from noon to 1:30 pm, which typically draws in upwards of 60,000 spectators each year. This year’s parade features more than 150 floats and other entries from communities across the city. Corporations, politicians, churches and other community leaders will march through the heart of our city, celebrating our diversity in the most fitting way possible — together. Seating for the family-friendly spectacle will be made available along the parade pathway, which will begin at 3 St and 6 Ave SE, continue primarily along 6 Ave SE, and conclude at 6 St and 3 Ave SW.
Pride in the Park
After marveling at the many wonders of the Calgary Pride Parade, march on down to Prince’s Island Park for the official Pride after party and picnic. Pride in the Park will run September 3 from noon until 6 pm, offering free outdoor entertainment and activities, live music, and beer gardens.
For more information on these and other Pride Week events, visit the Pride Community Calendar at calgarypride.ca