The colours of the rainbow were added to the usual holiday hues in Halifax this year as, for the first time, the queer community was represented in the city’s Parade of Lights.
The annual event, which attracts over 100,000 spectators, is the kick off to the holiday season and features music, lights, marching bands and more than 50 floats. Shining brightly amid the dazzling display on Nov 15 was the parade entry of Halifax Pride and six other queer organizations, with each of the participants wearing a different colour of the rainbow. The queer float contained a section of the world’s longest rainbow flag — which was originally unveiled in Key West, Florida in 2003.
The float was designed and created by Ed Savage who is known to many in Halifax’s queer community as the dynamic and charismatic drag performer Boom Boom. Savage, who was also Halifax Pride’s parade coordinator for 2008, spoke with Xtra.ca about the development of his queer vision.
“The original idea was to have a walking contingent in the parade. Me, being me, decided that wasn’t good enough and arranged for a truck for the float.” In the end, says Savage, the Parade of Lights committee “were quite excited about our participation.”
Hugo Dann, chair of Halifax Pride, who helped organize volunteers to make the creation a reality, agrees that there was no resistance to a queer group but says, grinning, “I think they found our exuberant and spontaneous creative process a bit challenging.”
“Halifax Pride is a growing concern in the cultural life of Halifax,” notes Dann, “and we want both our community and the city as a whole to know that we’re here and working hard all year round. Also the Downtown Halifax Business Commission (one of the sponsors of the Parade of Lights) was a big help to us in getting the Pride parade through downtown this year. It’s only right that Pride should be supporting their parade.”
The brightly decorated Pride entry elicited cheery smiles from spectators lining the parade route. Neither the gloomy skies nor intermittent rain were able to dim the spirits of the participants as another small piece of queer Halifax history was made.
Text and photo by Ralph Higgins.