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2021 Calgary Pride Festival wraps up with drive-in extravaganza

A drive-in event at Calgary Pride on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Global News

Events of the 31st annual Calgary Pride Festival end on Sunday, wrapping up with a parade like no other.

Under non-pandemic circumstances, thousands usually gather as a parade marches through city streets, but this year, it’s a drive-in extravaganza with drag artists and performers at TELUS Spark Science Centre.

Read more: ‘It’s groundbreaking’: Students celebrate 1st permanent Pride crosswalk at Calgary school

It is streamed online so people can stay home if they feel uncomfortable venturing out.

“Folks can still drive in and are able to come in and enjoy the spirit of community — the gender and sexually diverse community — in this format where they can still socially distance, enjoy part of being Pride and part of this great movement that we have here,” said Sumit Munjal, manager of production and programming at Calgary Pride.

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Click to play video: 'Calgary Pride Festival unveils new events' Calgary Pride Festival unveils new events
Calgary Pride Festival unveils new events – Aug 25, 2021

We don’t pivot; we sashay, he said.

“The fact that we are not able to walk through the roads, the fact that we are not able to celebrate the spirit of Pride in a format that we’re normally used to is still intact, and we’re still able to bring the community together but in a more socially and COVID-aware event,” Munjal said.

Read more: Calgary Pride Week will feature mix of virtual and in-person events

Hasina Juma, director of organizational change at Calgary Pride, said the festival planned for several outcomes.

“When we unveiled our programming back in June, we definitely created a blended format where if the restrictions were as they were in April or if they were going to be completely lifted, we had a program that we could sort of carry out regardless,” she said.

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“It hasn’t been a drastic change because we did our scenario planning in advance, and we gave the audience and our community a choice of being able to participate in some limited in-person components, but also allowing people to join from the comforts of their home.”

Click to play video: 'Celebrate Calgary Pride with online and in-person events' Celebrate Calgary Pride with online and in-person events
Celebrate Calgary Pride with online and in-person events – Aug 18, 2021

The 2020 Calgary Pride Parade was held virtually due to COVID-19.

Pride Week ends Monday.

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