Fruitcake: Kelowna’s new gay club scene

Partnership with Kelowna’s Sapphire nightclub builds LGBT2Q+ community and sees sell-out crowds

Nightlife in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is becoming more inclusive thanks to the monthly queer club night organized by the producers of Peak Pride, Canada’s newest LGBT2Q+ winter destination event.

FruitCake is promoted as a monthly, queer friendly, all-encouraged party where everyone is welcome and anything goes.

The event is the brainchild of Dustyn Baulkham and Peter Breeze, co-producers of the Peak Pride LGBT2Q+ weekend coming up at Big White, April 7 to 9.

Since its launch in January, Fruitcake has been a huge success, garnering sell-out crowds in Sapphire’s lounge and attracting guests from Vernon, Penticton and Vancouver. For its March instalment, Fruitcake will take over the larger, main room of Sapphire.

“Gay bars have historically been community hubs where you could go and be yourself, freely and without fear of judgment or discrimination,” said Breeze, who moved to the Okanagan from Vancouver where LGBT2Q+ events happen nightly. “Since we don’t have a gay bar in Kelowna, there has been a real gap in regular LGBT2Q+ events. It’s so important that there is place for the community to come together and connect with each other.”

Baulkham says the launch of Fruitcake seemed natural after the Okanagan saw a series of water cooler moments in terms of equity and progress for the local LGBT2Q+ community.

It started in 2015 when the City of Kelowna supported rainbow crosswalks in the downtown core. That was followed by the splashy debut of The OYP Sugarplum Ball in 2016, an event produced by the Okanagan Young Professionals and the Okanagan Pride Society where Kelowna’s Mayor Colin Basran and other local celebrities dressed up in drag as a statement of support for equity and equality.

The event garnered national and international media attention.

“From the crosswalks, to Sugarplum, to the 5,000 people who marched in the Pride March last year, we could see the momentum here for the LGBT2Q+ community,” said Baulkham. “We knew it was time for the community to have a space where they can regularly come together. It’s not about trying to recreate what the bigger cities have, it’s about cultivating our own community and making sure there is consistency so that people can thrive and local culture can evolve.”

FruitCake: Short Shorts edition, the third installment of the monthly event, is scheduled for March 24 and will also serve as the official launch party for Peak Pride.

Vancouver drag queens Alma B Itches and Ilona Verey will join local talent: drag icon Yumi Osaka, DJ Shado and DJ JGIRL of Footwerk Events.

Advance tickets are $12.50+ taxes and fees, and available now at www.peakpride.ca/fruitcake.

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