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Pride Week wraps up with feel-good parade

Bright and colourful flags and banners made for a vibrant Pride Parade down Ottawa Street in Windsor on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023. PHOTO BY BRIAN MACLEOD /WINDSOR STAR

Windsor-Essex Pride Fest wrapped up with a rousing, feel-good parade along Ottawa Street to Lanspeary Park on Sunday.

About 70 entries moved along the parade route, dancing, singing, with some performing a call-and-response routine of Happy Pride Day with the sizeable crowd that lined the streets along the route.

“It was just an electric vibe,” said Wendi Nicholson, president of Windsor-Essex Pride Fest.  “Everybody was so into it, and then just cheering with each float and group that went by. It’s very hard to describe. You have to be in that moment of to feel that vibe.”

Events throughout Pride Fest included an art jam, Pride Inspired — in which eality TV star Craig Ramsay and pro wrestler Gisele Shaw spoke about their experience at the Essex Centre Sports Complex — bowl with pride, live music on Friday night, glitterball a marketplace in the park and a Run for Rocky event on Saturday.

Seeing Ramsey and Shaw tell their life experiences was impressive, said Nicholson.

“(They) told stories of growing up coming out … how their families and how the school life was. And then once they were done they opened up the floor or anybody who wanted to tell their stories. It was a very good night and looking forward to doing that once again and hopefully moving it to different places in in in the county.”

Luke Morrison and Gianna Long took part in the parade in the Run for Rocky entry.

“The best part about the parade is seeing all the people … seeing all the support, said Morrision.  It could be very isolated at times when you’re gay and … it’s very nice to like see that there’s a community out there.”

Gianna Long, who also took part in the Run for Rocky entry, liked the community aspect of the parade. “It’s seeing all of the support, and the other the other people who maybe they’re not LGBT but they’re still out here supporting everyone.”

The only bigger Pride Fest parade took place in 2019 just before the COVID-19 pandemic, said Nicholson.

“What stays with me is just looking back through the weekend on all the events that we had, all the people that were here just laughing and dancing and the hugs going around to each other, people that haven’t seen each other in years reconnecting.

“It was just the love that goes on.”

Originally posted in the Windsor Star