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Five must-sees at Calgary Pride

What to do when pride stampedes into town

  The 2015 Calgary Pride festival saw record attendance numbers and this year is expected to be even larger. Credit: Courtesy Kelly Hofer

Who says Calgary is only about the rodeo? When the denim and leather are gone, it’s time to break out the rainbow flags for the city’s annual Pride Festival, Aug 25 to Sept 5, 2016  (denim and leather still welcome, of course). What was once a long weekend celebration is now a full week of Pride at the end of the summer.

According to Jason Kingsley, vice president of Calgary Pride, festival attendance has increased dramatically for the past few years, from 5,000 in 2011 to over 50,000 people last year. He adds that this year’s parade is expected to be larger than ever.

Kingsley says 125 groups have signed up to march in the parade, leaving more on the waiting list. He says Pride hopes to open up enough space for 25 more entries, and host a parade of 4,000 people in front of 60,000 spectators.

Not sure what events to attend? Kingsley gave us the scoop on what to look out for in the full festival, presented by ATB Financial:

Friday, Sept 2
TC Pride: The Movement
Bringing you the latest in house, nu-disco, g-funk, dance, bass and old school hits, hip hop and breaks, #truecolorsyyc is a safe and fun queer party in the city for all. It’s the original YYC girl party to get you shaking all you got all night long.
9pm. Nite Owl, 213 10 Ave S, $25 Advance (18+)

Saturday, Sept 3
Pure Pride
Sissy that walk down to the heart of Calgary for a night of big spectacles featuring
RuPaul’s Drag Race favourite Naomi Smalls, recording superstar Simone Denny, and aerial silk aerobatics by former Cirque du Soleil performer Tyler Ayres. This annual party brings big names for a night of glitter-filled fun.
9pm. Flames Central, 219 8 Ave SW, $40 and up (18+)

Saturday, Sept 4
Rocky Horror Picture Show Screening
Don’t dream it, be it! Back for a second year, the Fairy
Tales Film Festival and Calgary Underground Film Festival screen this cult classic with live pre-show entertainment; you definitely want to be a part of it and give yourself over to absolute pleasure.
10:30pm. Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave SW, $15 (18+)

Parade Day
This year’s parade will be led by award-winning writer, musician and filmmaker Rae Spoon.
Over 125 entries from community groups, corporations, politicians, churches and public services roll through the heart of downtown to celebrate the tremendous diversity of Calgary’s community.
12pm.  Ninth Avenue

Pride in the Park
When the parade is over, enjoy live music on the main stage, activities for youth and children in the family zone, a cold beer or refreshing cocktail in the Village Brewery Beer Gardens, or a browse through the marketplace. There’s no doubt this year’s Calgary Pride will be a memorable one.
Shaw Millennium Park, 1220 Ninth Ave SW