Windsor-Essex Pride Fest (WEPF) is an incorporated not-for-profit organization in the Province of Ontario. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, WEPF brings together members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Questioning and Two Spirit (LGBTIQ2S) community, their friends, allies and supporters in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of our community by providing advocacy and producing inclusive and safe events, initiatives and social programs. WEPF strengthens the sense of community and contributes to the vibrancy, health and overall well-being of LGBTIQ2S individuals in Windsor-Essex.
Every August, Windsor-Essex Pride Fest hosts a massive outdoor festival called Pride Fest that features entertainment, activities, vendors, speakers and more. Every year, Pride Fest is attended by nearly 5,000 people, making it one of the largest 5-day events in our region. And, we are hard at work to ensure that the festival is bigger and better every year.
But, Windsor-Essex Pride Fest has made a concerted effort to expand its role in the community beyond our 5-day event. Our board has adopted the philosophy that Pride should be more than just a festival, it should be a feeling that our LGBTIQ+ community should have all year long. Our community should be proud of who they are, where they live and what they contribute to our society.
Windsor-Essex Pride Fest as an organization is more than just a festival, it empowers individuals to reach out to each other and facilitates opportunities for connection and belonging through age-specific activities or initiatives, peer-facilitated groups and special events and will address social isolation and create a social environment that is more accommodating, resilient and connected to the broader LGBTIQ2S community in Windsor-Essex. The lack of peer or social support, activities, gatherings or other connective resources in the community cause a form of social isolation that often escalates into a number of problems, including homelessness, depression, violence, suicidal ideation, etc. Since June 2017, Windsor-Essex pride Fest will have hosted or supported more than thirty LGBTIQ+ events, initiatives and workshops. Information on upcoming events can be found on our event calendar.
Windsor-Essex Pride Fest has also stepped up to be a voice for the LGBTIQ+ community in the media, offering perspective, balance and accurate information in the ever-changing landscape. We’ve been featured in local news broadcasts and in multiple features on CBC Windsor and CTV Windsor as well as featured in the Windsor Star and broadcasts on AM800 CKLW. For the first time ever, we worked with We celebrated the 5th anniversary of the Come OUT & Play Guide, a guide that contained supportive members of our community, visitor information and resource directory. We also maintain an active social media presence with some 4,000 followers to stay connected to our community to help those in our community stay connected to each other.
As we grow, both as a festival and an organization, there are more opportunities — and a greater need — for our community to get involved in what we do. We welcome volunteers to serve on committees to help plan Pride Fest, support events and to help with marketing and community outreach. And, of course, we need hundreds of volunteers to help make Pride Fest a success.
If you’d like to get involved, please do so!
Windsor-Essex Pride Fest is of our community, for our community. Live Free. Live Proud.
To grow the Windsor-Essex Pride Fest into a premier event for the Windsor-Essex region and enhance its ability to become sustainable through iniitatives and events with the goal of strengthening the sense of community and contribute to the vibrancy, health and overall well-being of persons in the LGBTTIQ of Windsor-Essex and surrounding communities.
The Windsor-Essex Pride Fest will:
- Run a not-for-profit organization, committed to volunteers and staff.
- Create a safe space to engage communities in celebration of their sexuality.
- Provide social activities/initiatives to reduce social isolation and building a more connected LGBTTIQ community within the Windsor-Essex region.
- Help support community organizations that service the LGBTTIQ residents in the Windsor-Essex region.
- Coordinate a series of pre-eminent arts/cultural events to increase LGBTTIQ tourism.
- Utilize the public festival as a means of creating a shared positive experience between the LGBTTIQ and mainstream populations to help build on the objective of creating an inclusive community.
- Work with regional/provincial tourism partners to promote Windsor-Essex area as an LGBTTIQ visitor destination.