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Volunteers look to hold Pride in the Park

Free 2SLGBTQ+ celebration this June 27 aims to support St. Albert youth
PARTY TIME — A trio of St. Albert volunteers hope about 125 people will come to Lions Park this June 27 for the inaugural Pride in the Park festival. The free, all-ages event celebrates the 2SLGBTQ+ community in St. Albert. MAEVE CRANNA/Image

A team of St. Albert volunteers hope to bring back one of Outloud’s main events this month by hosting some Pride in the Park.

St. Albert residents and Amplify St. Albert advisory committee members Maeve Cranna, Sydney Peskett, and Kierra Leung are rallying artists and entertainers this month to host a free, all-ages festival called Pride in the Park this June 27 in Lions Park. The festival aims to celebrate inclusion and the 2SLGBTQ+ community and is an attempt to replace the St. Albert Pride festival organized by the Outloud St. Albert, which closed down last May.

Cranna said the three of them were longtime volunteers with the St. Albert Pride festival and started talking about a potential replacement for it immediately after Outloud folded.

“We just felt a need to step up and put on something so St. Albert could still celebrate Pride and still show support for the community.”

Cranna said the team originally hoped to organize a festival through Amplify, but learned the group’s time and resources were tied up with the International Children’s Festival. They decided to organize the festival on their own using their contacts in the St. Albert-area arts and 2SLGBTQI+ communities.

Leung said this year’s Pride in the Park will be an arts-focused event featuring live music, screen-printing, button-making, art displays, and information booths run by Edmonton-area gender and sexual minority advocacy groups. She encouraged any artists and performers interested in taking part in this event to contact the organizing team.

Peskett said she hoped to get about 125 people out to the festival, and encouraged people to spread the word about it. The team planned to organize a bigger festival next year.

“It’s important to have a safe space where people can be celebrated for who they are,” Peskett said.

Important support

Leung, who is asexual, said public celebrations of the 2SLGBTQ+ community were important to give youths the space to have fun and figure out aspects of their sexual and gender identity. Edmonton has many such events, but it’s often difficult for St. Albert youths to find transportation to them.

St. Albert artist Max Quilliam, who will be offering free screen-prints at Pride in the Park, said these were difficult times for Alberta’s 2SLGBTQI+ community, especially given the province’s plan to table policies this fall targeted at trans Albertans.

“Having these events that are visible and are welcoming is one of the easiest things we can do to show we have love for these young people, that they have a place in our community, and they will always be welcome in our community,” Quilliam, who is trans, said.

Pride in the Park runs from 3 to 7 p.m. June 27 at the Lions Park picnic shelter. Email [email protected] for details.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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