B.C. premier to walk in Okanagan Pride march

This year's march, on Aug. 13, will take place in the Kelowna portion of Christy Clark's Westside-Kelowna riding.

The 2016 Okanagan Pride Festival starts this weekend and runs through next week in Kelowna.

This year’s Okanagan Pride Society We Are One Pride March already has Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr ready to act as parade marshal—now it has B.C.’s premier as well.

Pride festival organizers have announced Christy Clark will walk in the annual march, the first time a B.C. premier has participated.

The march will go Aug. 13, starting at 11 a.m. in from Stuart Park downtown to wending it way to City Park, site of this year’s Pride Festival.

“We were thrilled to find out she wanted to march with us,” said Okanagan Pride Society president Sydney Lawson. “Our theme this year is We Are One. With everything thing that’s been going on in the world, to have her show her support and attend is amazing.”

The march and festival will take place in the Kelowna part of Clark’s Westside-Kelonwa riding.

“We all know politics is tough, so for her to show her support of the LGBTQ+ community and being able to do it here with us, well, we are very pleased to have her,” said Lawson.

The premier is not expected to speak at the event and it is not clear if she will attend any of the festival activities after the march. But Lawson said she hopes Clark will stick around for a little while.

“Many people believe that Pride is just about the LGBTQ+ community but it is for anyone who understands the importance of equality and safe communities for all,” said Lawson. ” It’s about celebrating diversity and inclusion.”

The march and festival are two of the all-ages free events held during Pride week.

In addition to Fuhr and Clark, other the mayors of Kelowna and Penticton, Colin Basran and Andrew Jakubeit  have both confirmed they will also walk in the march.

Meanwhile, the Pandosy Village Business Association in Kelonwa has announced it plan to roll out what it calls “the rainbow carpet” to celebrate Pride Week Aug. 6 to 13.

While many of many of south Pandosy business area’s small shops have historically decorated for Pride Week, this year, the area’s business association has officially declared its support for Pride Week by temporarily renaming Pandosy Village “Rainbow Village.” The association’s directors are encouraging all of its professional services and merchants to join in and decorate their storefronts in rainbows to show their support.

“Our association is more about community than just business,” said Arnica Rowan, a PVBA director and owner of Pounce & Hound Fine Pet Goods. “We live, work and play in Pandosy Village, and we want our neighbourhood to be as welcoming as possible to all folks and families. Our little shops can be powerful agents of positive change.”

PVBA president Barb Watts said her association wants to foster a welcoming village atmosphere in it “little corner” of Kelowna, and this year it is delighted to officially promote Pride Week and celebrate the diversity the neighbourhood.

She said front desk staff in many businesses will be sporting Rainbow Village buttons, and decorating their stores in a rainbow theme.

 

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