September 08, 2021
The Pride flag will be raised in front of Windsor's City Hall Square on Wednesday as a ceremonial kickoff to Pride Week activities.
This year's ceremony will include members of the Indigenous community to help facilitate further reflection following the discoveries of hundreds of unmarked graves at several residential schools earlier this year.
According to Wendi Nicholson, the president of the Windsor Pride Fest, the flag raising ceremony will feature a speech by Mona Stonefish, a Mohawk Elder and residential school survivor, plus a drumming performance by Eagle Flight.
"The anger that people have right now and the bullying to the LGBTQ community and the residential school atrocity to the Indigenous community has led us to want to work together," she said.
The Windsor-Essex Pride Fest runs from Friday Sept. 10 to Sunday Sept 12 at Lanspeary Park. While the festival is usually a mid-summer event, this year's festivities were delayed due to the pandemic.
"We hoped and prayed that everything would come through and it has. Now we can move forward and hopefully put on the best festival that we possibly can for this year," she said.
This past year, Trans Wellness Ontario, formerly called W.E. Trans Support, filed three reports to Windsor police regarding homophobic and racist vandalism, along with property damage.
In April, Windsor police arrested and charged an 18-year-old Windsor man for the damage.
Nicholson said more bullying of the LGBTQ community "came to light" throughout the pandemic.
"It is upsetting that we have to fight for so much. It saddens me. We're people," she said.
A majority of the festivities will take place in the Lanspeary Lions Rink, which according to Nicholson, holds approximately 336 people.
She said social distancing and mandatory mask wearing will be strictly implemented.
Two musical sessions per day will take place within the arena throughout the weekend. Time in between the sessions will be dedicated to sanitizing the space.
For those who choose to remain outdoors, performances and events will take place in Lanspeary Park.
"We have a lot of local talent coming in, we have some out of town talent coming in. I think we're going to put on something that everyone is going to be happy with," she said.
Some of the featured live events will include Queens of Pride, set for Saturday night with back-to-back-to-back performers and Juice Boxx from Ru Paul's Drag Race Canada.
Nicholson said she looks forward to the "amazing entertainment."