Five exciting days of celebrations kicked off Wednesday with the annual raising of the Windsor-Essex Pride Fest flag at city hall.
“Today, we raised not only the pride flag but also the transgender flag,” said Pride Fest president David Lenz.
“For those in our transgender community, they have more of a difficult time, so this was an opportunity to offer a symbolic gesture, illustrating the importance of trans rights,” he said. It was also recognition that “there are members of our community who continue to struggle for recognition and for acceptance,” he added.
The local Pride Fest started in 1992 when 100 people marched through Windsor. Now, 26 years later, the pride festival has become one of the community’s most anticipated cultural attractions, promoting equality and diversity through a range of fun-filled events created for all to enjoy. The festival celebrates members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning and two-spirit community, along with their friends.
“We’ve really made some good changes over the years and have turned our yearly festival into a year-long program with social and recreational programs,” said Lenz.
The festival really is an opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate the accomplishments we’ve done as well as acknowledge there is still lots that needs to be done in regards to discrimination
Organizers received a Trillium Foundation grant which allowed them to provide social programs throughout the year. There are now about 12 events a month in Windsor and Essex, including a youth group in Amherstburg and Essex.
“The festival really is an opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate the accomplishments we’ve done as well as acknowledge there is still lots that needs to be done in regards to discrimination,” said Lenz. “We are really excited.”
The annual Pride Fest Family Bowling at Rose Bowl Lanes is on Thursday night at 7 p.m. Dust off those old bowling shoes, shine up that ball and head down to Rose Bowl for two free games of bowling. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Windsor’s own Bigg Wiggle, Chappus & Neuman and many other bands will perform at Lanspeary Park. The event will also offer a cash bar, food and over 30 vendors with everything from apparel to gifts, art and food.
Starting on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., the Capitol Theatre will open its doors for WIFF Pride Weekend Film Screenings. Adults are $14 and student tickets are $9. Films include Disobedience (9 a.m. and 7 p.m.), The Gospel According to Andre (11:15 a.m and 5 p.m.), The Miseducation of Cameron Post (1:10 and 9:15 p.m.) and Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood at 3 p.m.