Pride swells in the Park in Armstrong

Armstrong Pride held its third annual Pride in the Park event Saturday, June 15

A colourful show of pride took place in the heart of Armstrong Saturday, June 15.

Armstrong Pride's third annual Pride in the Park event saw a number of people come out in spurts of rain to connect with one another and organizations that can provide various resources for members of the 2SLGBTQIA community.

Madison Reynolds and Max Andruik, two of Armstrong Pride's most active board members, were at the park coordinating the events as colourfully dressed people arrived and mingled at a pop-up plaza in the park, formed by the tents of 24 organizations that came to celebrate and spread information.

"(The event) lets people know we're here, we know that there's a lot of 2SLGBTQIA folks in our area, so visibility is really important," said Reynolds. "And it's just nice to come out and see each other and be in community together."

Pride in the Park is Armstrong Pride's big event for Pride Month this year. Founded in 2021, the group works with other organizations to provide resources to trans and queer folks — organizations like Free Parent Hugs, a supporter of trans and queer youth, which was at Pride in the Park giving out — you guessed it — free hugs.

BC Ambulance Service anchored one corner of the tent plaza with two ambulances and its "inclusive squad," which was asking people how they can improve their service.

"They want to know how they can be more inclusive," Reynolds said.

Other organizations that took part as vendors included Scouts Canada, Vernon Pride, the Armstrong Spallumcheen Trails Society, Asparagus Community Theatre, Canadian Mental Health Association and Okanagan Regional Library.

Animals were also involved as the Hatch a Chick program set up a chick holding booth, and puppies were up for adoption at the Shuswap Paws Rescue Society tent.

There were also three barber sessions where people could get a gender-affirming haircut right in the park. At another tent, a pair of Indigenous and two-spirit artists showed off their beadwork and digital art.

Andruik said in the third edition of Pride in the Park, people are now more familiar with Armstrong Pride and they had more organizations come to them and ask to be vendors this year.

"People are interested in having this event and being here each year, people get pretty excited, "she said.

Both Armstrong Pride members said they were pleased with Saturday's turnout, as people came out despite a light rain throughout the day.

Coffee was provided by PV BLVD Cafe and Starbucks, and food was on hand thanks to Two Sparrows Pizza and On The Way Food Truck.



Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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