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40th Pride London Festival launches virtually

2018 FILE PHOTO.
2018 FILE PHOTO. Jaclyn Carbone/980 CFPL

Londoners can enjoy the 2020 Pride London Festival — which marks its 40th year — from the comfort of their couches as the festival launches virtually Thursday evening.

President Andrew Rosser announced back in late April that the festival would be held virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but noted at the time that the move does offer some advantages, including lowering costs and the opportunity to engage with a broader audience.

Read more: Sunfest Connected: popular London, Ont., festival to go virtual amid coronavirus

The festival, which runs July 16 to 26, begins at 7 p.m. Thursday with a virtual launch on Facebook and YouTube. It will include ASL interpreting services.

“We have so much going on, Rosser told Global News earlier this week. “There is literally two, three, four events every day.”

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“We start with a kickoff, we’re doing a spotlight on our LGBTQ2+ digital artists — a website to feature some of the amazing artists we have in our community.”

Rosser said Pride London will use a variety of platforms, including Twitch, Facebook and YouTube to make sure all of their usual events can continue online.

“Our virtual Pride community celebration will be submitted videos from all our wonderful community partners and LGBTQ2+ artists. That will be in place of our parade on the 26th at [noon] and it will be a fun way to celebrate,” said Rosser.

“We’re also trying to promote people to celebrate Pride in your homes — get outside and do Pride chalk art and tag #ChalkYourPride and also use the #PrideAtHome to show how you’re celebrating Pride at home.”

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Other events include the 7th annual Ally Blood Donor Day scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the blood donor clinic at 820 Wharncliffe Rd. S. on July 17, an online version of Drag Queen Storytime at 1 p.m. July 18 and 25, an online Pride church service at 11 a.m. July 19, and a Zoom meeting on Pride and Black Lives Matter: Continuing the Conversation on July 25.

More information is available on the group’s website and Facebook page.

Kingston Pride goes virtual in 2020
Kingston Pride goes virtual in 2020

— with files from Global News’ Sawyer Bogdan.