Kelowna's Pride Week is being celebrated little different this year

Pride through the pandemic

As with most events in 2020, Pride Week in Kelowna looks a little different this year. But that doesn't mean it's not being celebrated.

Thursday night, a handful of colourfully decorated vehicles made their way through downtown Kelowna's streets, honking their horns and celebrating the LGBT2Q+ community in Kelowna.

“It's a lot around visibility, because especially with COVID, there's not a lot going on and there's a lot of people in the LGBT community who aren't in safe places where they're living,” said Dustyn Baulkham, general manager of the Kelowna Pride Society.

“We're trying to create some safe spaces for people to distantly gather and still partake in pride.”

Thursday's vehicle parade was one of three planned socially distanced pride parades this week, to replace the annual Kelowna Pride Parade that has attracted thousands of participants in the past. The bike parade was held Tuesday, but the planned “water parade” was cancelled Wednesday, due to high winds on Okanagan Lake.

Baulkham says they've seen growing numbers at Kelowna Pride Week year over year, with 2019's parade breaking attendance records, and the community is becoming more accepting.

“More and more people are seeing that we're human just like anyone else,” he said. “Once you take off the skin we're all basically the exact same thing on the inside so we're trying to display that, but trying to create a sense of community and showcase LGBT talent at all of our events.”

The socially distance Pride Week isn't over yet. Friday and Saturday, Kelowna's Next Week Drag Superstar will be crowned at Summerhill Winery. The events will be streamed online and more information can be found here.

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