Thousands of people packed downtown Kelowna Saturday for a colourful celebration of all things Pride.
The annual Pride March and Festival began at the Stuart Park ice rink just after 10 a.m., where thousands of people gathered to show their support for the local LGBTQ+ community. The crowd then marched along the boardwalk to City Park where the all-day Pride Festival is running until 4 p.m.
“The energy at these festivals, there's always so much love and so much joy,” said Fahmy Baharuddin, president of event organizer Kelowna Pride.
“We've grown every single year since we started hosting the Pride Parade and it's just amazing to see the support from the community grow every single year.”
Baharuddin was born in a country where being gay is illegal, and he expressed his gratitude to the crowd.
“Where I was from, none of this would have ever been possible so to see such a wonderful community gather and to celebrate a celebration like today means the absolute world to me,” Baharuddin said.
He noted the celebration will always be a type of protest, along with a recognition of how far society has come in supporting those in the LGBTQ+ community.
City councillor and deputy mayor Mohini Singh spoke at the event, noting that mayor Tom Dyas was unable to make it, as he was attending the celebration of life for Al Horning.
Saturday's event wraps up the bulk of Kelowna Pride Week, although a handful of Pride events will be running at the Friends of Dorothy Lounge Sunday.