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Kelowna Pride Week begins amidst coronavirus pandemic: ‘It’s completely different’

Click to play video: 'Kelowna Pride Week begins with many COVID-19 precautions in place' Kelowna Pride Week begins with many COVID-19 precautions in place
Kelowna Pride Week begins with many COVID-19 precautions in place – Sep 18, 2020

Pride Week 2020 in Kelowna won’t look like years past. This year will be a mix of in-person, online and outdoor events to keep the celebration safe for all who attend.

“Basically it’s completely different. We are really excited about what we have pulled together for Pride week,” said Dustyn Baulkham with Kelowna Pride Society.

“Historically we have three main events. There’s a trans march and social Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar, and the festival this year because of COVID-19.

“We have had to drastically change that. We have removed the march because there’s no way we could safely have 12,000 people participating so we are splitting into three different parades. All are following provincial orders and guidelines.”

Read more: Kelowna Pride Society announces dates for city’s annual Pride Week in 2020

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Participants who register in the parades can choose to drive, bike or swim to participate and masks will be mandatory at all events. Pride week kicks off with the annual Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar at Friends of Dorothy Lounge in Kelowna. It’s the first of three where local queens will compete for the crown.

“People love the show. Drag queens get to express, they get to entertain, they feel great about it and we love watching and supporting it,” said Rudy Tomazic, Friends of Dorothy Lounge.

This year, the annual colourful spectacle celebrating social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights and LGBTQ2 pride may be more important than ever.

Read more: Hundreds show up as Kelowna Pride Parade parties through downtown

“I think people are feeling frustrated being locked up and tied up and having restrictions. So I think provided we stay within the guidelines provided by Dr. Bonnie Henry we will provide a safe space — we will provide a place people can enjoy, celebrate and feel a little bit excited about what’s happening,” said Tomazic.

The socially-distanced events will also include an outdoor market, film screenings and more.

Anyone wishing to attend must pre-register and numbers will be limited to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. For more information, visit www.kelownapride.com 

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Kelowna Pride Week paints covers the city in rainbows – Jun 21, 2019

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