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Pride Week events planned for this week in the Battlefords

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

NORTH BATTLEFORD — Battlefords Area Pride kicked off a full week of activities for their fifth annual local Pride Week with a flag raising Monday at North Battleford City Hall. 

Mayor David Gillan said, "It's really important. It's our privilege actually to be raising the flag today. We really do encourage diversity in our city and this is just proving that we do believe in diversity and inclusivity in our city and everybody belonging in our city and feeling welcome in our city and safe in our city."

Candice Toma, public and intergovernmental coordinator for the city, said, "We have such a good a mandate in the city of North Battleford to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible, and Battlefords Pride are certainly an instrumental part of that. We are always pleased when we can do any sort of proclamation with the city but to have such a great turnout and have such a good community-minded group here to support it really makes all the difference world. It helps us be as diverse and friendly and welcoming as possible."

Organizers have said the question is sometimes raised as to why a separate week is dedicated locally. Their answer is that 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 so 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 the town hall in honour of Pride month.

July's Pride Week kicked off with two events Monday — a ceremonial flag-raising at City Hall free disc golf event at Centennial Park planned for the evening.

Tuesday evening, karaoke is 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.

More sponsors for Pride Week came forward than in previous years. This year's sponsors are BATC, Discovery Coop, SIGA, Innovation Credit Union, Sask Lotteries, Toronto Dominion Bank, Sask Music, Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre and Sobeys.