We're more Than Just a Festival
Windsor-Essex Pride Fest (WEPF) is a registered not-for-profit organization in the Province of Ontario. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. WEPF brings together members of the Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (2SLGBTQIA+) community, their friends, allies and supporters in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of our community. We do this by providing advocacy, and producing inclusive and safe events, initiatives, and social programs. Windsor-Essex Pride Fest will strengthen the sense of community and contribute to the vibrancy, health, and overall well-being of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in Windsor-Essex.
Every August, Windsor-Essex Pride Fest hosts a large outdoor festival called Pride Fest that features entertainment, activities, vendors, speakers, and more. Every year, Pride Fest is attended by nearly 7,500 people, making it one of the largest multi-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 multi-day event. Our board has adopted the philosophy that Pride should be more than just a festival, it should be a feeling that our 2SLGBTQIA+ 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 causes a form of social isolation that often escalates into a number of problems, including homelessness, depression, violence, suicidal ideation, etc.
As we grow, both as the festival and as 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 planning committees, support events, and help with marketing and community outreach. And, of course, we need hundreds of volunteers to help make all of what we do a true community success.
Our mission is to bring together members of the Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (2SLGBTQIA+) community, their friends, allies and supporters in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of our community. We will provide advocacy, produce inclusive and safe events, initiatives and social programs. Windsor-Essex Pride Fest will strengthen the sense of community and contribute to the vibrancy, health and overall well-being of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in Windsor-Essex.
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 programs, activities, and initiatives to reduce social isolation and build a more connected LGBTQ community within the Windsor-Essex region.
Help support community organizations that service the 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in Windsor-Essex.
Work with local, regional and provincial tourism partners to promote Windsor-Essex area as a @SLGBTQIA+ visitor destination.
Coordinate a series of pre-eminent arts and cultural events to increase 2SLGBTQIA+ tourism to the Windsor-Essex region.
Utilize the public festival as a means of creating a shared positive experience between the 2SLGBTQIA+ and mainstream populations to help build on the objective of creating a more inclusive and diverse community.
Programs We Deliver to Windsor-Essex
Windsor-Essex Pride Fest’s goal through its many programs and initiatives is to support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community by empowering individuals to reach out to each other and to facilitate opportunities for connection and belonging through age-specific activities or initiatives, social/recreational programs and special events and will address social isolation and create a social environment that is more accommodating, resilient and connected to the broader 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Windsor-Essex.
Members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community experience unique social isolation compared with other marginalized groups. Research indicates that the individuals in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are 2.5 times more likely to live alone. The lack of peer or social supports, activities, gatherings or other opportunities to engage with peers in the community may cause social isolation that often escalates into a number of other problems, including homelessness, depression, violence, suicidal ideation, drug and alcohol abuse and dropping out of school for some 2SLGBTQIA+ youth.
George Hannah Memorial Scholarship
The scholarship was established 2015 in honour of George Hannah (local community activist) and recognizes students that have demonstrated leadership and/or commitment to the community in the promotion of equality, diversity and/or awareness of 2SLGBTQIA+ issues in Windsor-Essex including ongoing social challenges including discrimination, exclusion, harassment and assault.
To date, the scholarship has raised and contributed over $10,000 in scholarships to students at St. Clair College that promotes equality and diversity in our community.
How We Are Funded
Windsor-Essex Pride Fest and its social programs and initiatives are funded through contributions made through advertising, sponsorship, event admissions, grants and donations from the public. It also receives a significant amount of ‘in-kind’ support from media partners, corporations, fundraisers and volunteers. Windsor-Essex Pride Fest does not receive any ongoing government funding so your support is greatly needed and appreciated! Windsor-Essex Pride Fest exists to strengthen the sense of community and contribute to the vibrancy, health and overall well-being of 2SLGBTQIA+ people in Windsor-Essex.