After a one year absence, the annual Prince Albert Pride parade returned on Sunday.
The 14-car parade wound its way around the City and ended at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre parking lot Sunday afternoon.
Parade caravan participants said it was not only a chance to support LGTBQ2+ residents, but to also gather with friends after several months of lockdowns.
“It’s been so strange and sad and lonely during COVID,” Pride volunteer Ailah Carpenter said. “Following COVID, we didn’t really have a Pride thing at all last year. It’s just so nice to finally get together and have fun again. This community really needs to get together.”
More than 30 people participated in Sunday’s parade, while hundreds more watched and cheered on the parade route around the City.
Pride planning committee member Alex Powalinsky said it was heartwarming to see so much support from Prince Albert residents. That’s something she didn’t see when she as a youth until she attended her first Pride parade in Toronto at age 14.
“The allyship and the support that we’re getting from the community this year is overwhelming,” she said. “We’re so, so grateful. While we were on the parade, we saw so many people out on their lawns waiting for us, dressed up with flags, and it was just great to see that support coming from the community. We’ve come a long way.”
Pride events will continue on Tuesday with a flag raising ceremony and a virtual queer coffee night with slam poetry on Thursday. Calvary United Church also hosted a church diversity service on Sunday.
Powalinsky said they hope Pride month will give residents who aren’t out yet some comfort in knowing they aren’t alone.
“I just want them to know that we’re here for them when they’re ready to be out and that things get better and we love them,” she said.
Police called in following egging at drag show
Sunday’s Pride parade marked the official start of Pride week in Prince Albert, but the festivities kicked off with Drag Me Across Saskatchewan drag show on Saturday night.
Organizers said the night was amazing, however they decided to call police in due to safety concerns after a group of youth began egging the performers.
Powalinsky said calling in police was a last resort.
“We were hesitant to call the police,” she explained. “It’s not that we were wanting them to get into trouble. We were worried about protecting the people who were there, and especially our guests, the performers. We were like, ‘this is our community and we want to make it a positive event for everyone.’”
Powalinsky added that the confrontation was a great opportunity to explain the importance of pride to some of the younger youth, some of whom chose to stay and watch the show for the rest of the evening. However, she said it also shows why events like Sunday’s Pride parade are important.
“People say, ‘oh, it’s not an issue anymore,’ but it still is,” she said. “That stuff happens a lot in the community. It really highlighted why Pride is important.”