Dozens of people showed up at Penticton’s Coyote Cruises for the Fruit Float on Saturday afternoon, taking part in the second annual event with the South Okanagan Similkameen Pride Society.
SOS Secretary-Treasurer Heather Adamson said that the last one in 2019 was a big success and they've been waiting patiently to do it again.
"It's about increasing representation. It's about just celebrating our 2SLGBTQIA+ community here in the South Okanagan, and Similkameen," she said.
The event was free and accessible, as long as people had their own floaties to drop into the river. otherwise, tubes and bus rides booked online with Coyote Cruises were 20 per cent off for the day.
"It's for our community to celebrate our community. But of course, there are lots of allies here, and friends and family come out. It's also a really family-friendly, awesome event that you can do with your kids too," Adamson said.
The City of Penticton declared June to be pride month and there are still events to celebrate.
The first annual Rolling Pride Parade presented by Penticton Roller Skate will kick off at Loco Landing at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, with a 3 p.m. roll (on skates or your choice of another non-motorized ‘rolling’ option such as roller blades, your bike, or simply walk) to head to Gyro Park for a pop-up roller disco celebration.
Time Winery welcomes Frieda Whales ‘and her pod’ for a drag brunch and happy hour on Sunday with two seatings. At 11:30 a.m. enjoy your choice of brunch dishes and a glass of bubbly, or book a spot at 2:30 p.m. for a happy hour burlesque show, also with a glass of bubbly.
On Tuesday, the Penticton Public Library hosts a Pride Party at 6:30 p.m.
"I think it's been our best pride month ever to be totally honest. We've been blown away by that community support. There have been so many organizations and businesses that have stepped up and posted pride events this month for pride and we've never seen that kind of support before," Adamson said.
"Out of all the activities that happened this month, we only actually hosted two and every other event we participated in or we partnered or we supported, but it was all planned by all the rest of them."
A reminder from the City of Penticton for those looking to float the channel that the water is moving very quickly.
Be aware of the risks and follow these safety guidelines:
- Do not tie your floats together, this is what causes 90% of our rescue incidents. Floats get wrapped around bridge abutments, floats flip over and pins floaters against the pillar.
- Wear a life jacket, especially non-swimmers and children.
- Avoid alcohol and apply sunscreen.
- Keep an eye out for hazards, such as bridge abutments and other floaters.
- Pay attention to the exit and stay right 3/4 the way down, there are signs guiding you. If you cannot make the exit, don't panic, stay on your flotation then paddle right to the beach on Skaha Lake.
- When exiting the river channel, make room for others accessing the stairs.
- Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing or witness a water emergency.