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Battlefords Pride Week features drag show, circus, parade

Most events are family-friendly and free.
A Pride art project from last year.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Battlefords Area Pride is offering a full week of activities for their fifth annual local Pride Week. The dates this year are July 24-30.

Every year support picks up steam. This year sees the most financial support ever received by the group for Pride week events.

Most events are family-friendly and free! The kickoff day, Monday July 24, has two events scheduled. A ceremonial flag-raising at City Hall is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. accompanied by free cake. Later in the day starting 6 p.m. is a new activity to the offerings. Hosted by Battlefords Disc Golf Club at 6 pm, free disc golf for anyone interested. To participate, simply meet up by the spray park in Centennial Park around 6 p.m. The club is supplying all the gear needed for the experience.

Tuesday evening, July 25, karaoke is being hosted by the Downstairs Bar & Grill with DJMarc.

Wednesday, July 26, is another new activity offering for this year; free swimming at the Aquatic Centre beginning 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 27 at the Battlefords Community Players Playhouse Theatre in Battleford, drag artist Celine returns to host a 19+ Drag Show event along with other friend artists from Saskatchewan. This event offers a cash bar and food from The Prairie Fairy food truck. Tickets are $10 and available on Eventbrite or at the door. Though Celine currently resides in Edmonton, she hails from the Battlefords and is excited to bring her artistry back home.

On Friday, July 28, a family-friendly event is scheduled in the lecture theatre at the Public Library starting 11:30 p.m. running through the lunch hour. Two entertainers will showcase their talents. There will be a selection of Drag Royalty Story Time books read aloud for the purpose of promoting acceptance and celebration of diversity. Additionally, local magician Dr. VonHouligan will share juggling, balancing, and illusion. Kids of all ages are welcome!

Saturday sees an elaborate fun-filled day at Kinsmen Park with a variety of offerings. For anyone unsure of the location for Kinsmen Park, it is just off 18th Avenue and west of EMBM School. There is a playground and spray park along with an abundance of mature trees making it a fantastic outdoor location. The event runs from 1 to 9 p.m. Due to generous sponsorship and donations, there are a variety of free activity offerings during the afternoon and into the early evening. In addition to bouncy castles on-site and a Big Top Circus tent, look for face painting, caricature drawing, live Zoltar fortune telling, an interactive arts experience, and airbrush tattoos. There will be vendors and food trucks on site.

Under the Big Top tent, live entertainment is scheduled from 2 to 9 p.m. along with celebrity MC Shawn Cuthand. Cuthand is a Cree/Mohawk comedian, podcaster , writer, and actor. The lineup includes: 2 p.m. Dr. VonHouligan Magic; 3 p.m. local The Lances; 4 p.m. LadyStrange out of Saskatoon; 5 p.m. Dr. VonHouligan Magic; 6 p.m. local Gypsy Moonbird; 7 p.m. Cupid’s Heart the headliner warm-up; and 8 p.m. headliner LJ Tyson.

For those who like to participate in actions such as walks or parades in support of local Pride, Sunday, July 30, is the date to mark on your calendars. The informal “parade” can involve whatever form of transportation you prefer whether that be walking, biking, or decorating your vehicle for driving. Anyone wishing to participate simply needs gather in front of the Public Library before 1 p.m.

Sometimes the question is raised as to why a separate week is dedicated locally. Many of the rural pride groups in Saskatchewan choose to create this option. During the national Pride month of June, the larger centres of Saskatoon and Regina have large scale events that attract people from all over the province. Rural centres cannot compete with that and may wish to encourage participation. By hosting a local week to celebrate outside of that timeframe, no one is torn between attending the large scale events in the city and supporting local events. Battlefords Area Pride did create rainbow crosswalks in North Battleford by the public library and in Battleford in front of town hall in honour of Pride month.