Rachel Neale and Mikayla Rothwell walked in the Okanagan Pride March at Stuart Park Saturday, before enjoying the festival. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Participants don their rainbow colours for pride march

All sorts of rainbow-coloured costumes could be seen this morning at Kelowna’s Stuart Park

Thousands gathered in every colour of the rainbow to march in the annual Pride March as part of the Okanagan Pride Festival.

The march, which took place Saturday morning, had participants walking from Stuart to Waterfront Park where festivities were held in the park for the afternoon.

“It’s my third year out here and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve actually never been to a pride parade,” said march participant Mikayla Rothwell.

Rachel Neale visited the festival for the first time last year.

“I just wanted to be part of the community, it’s so fun,” she said. “There’s definitely more awareness, you slowly see people come out of their shells and people are more accepting.”

Rothwell enjoyed seeing the different costumes.

“It makes you feel welcome and invited,” she said.

Robert Verigin, also known as drag queen Sophonda Mann, was wearing a rainbow-coloured drag outfit and a glittery mask for the event.

“To me the turnout is really good, it’s nice to see people just be themselves,” he said.

When commenting on his costume, he said “I’ve had this costume for many years, I’ve wore it in other prides and I want to take it apart. But I might as well wear it one more time.”

March participant Ellen Churchill said she’s been marching in Kelowna’s pride events since the ‘90s and is glad to see the community has become more accepting.

“There was no corporate sponsorship, there was no mayor,” said Churchill.“It’s pretty moving now for us that have been involved for 20 years.”

Last year’s march drew around 5,000 participants.

The Trans March held Thursday, Aug. 17 had crowds of around 250 people.

A mass pride wedding was also held Saturday afternoon at the Island Stage in Waterfront Park.

Check Wednesday’s edition of the Capital News for an updated version of the story.

 

From left to right: Chloe Strocher snaps a selfie with Nicole Craft and Brittney Gray of the Okanagan Mermaids during the annual Pride March Saturday at Stuart Park. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News