3 min

In the Name of Love

Pride blowout offers dyke march, memorial breakfast, lots more

Credit: Robin Perelle

Get ready to wave those Pride flags and shake those beads-and anything else you’d care to shake. This year’s Pride festivities promise a mix of tried and true events and a little bit of the new to keep you going.

This year’s theme, explains Pride spokesperson Steven Schelling, is Pride In the Name of Love.

“It really is about how far we’ve come,” he says. “We have even more to celebrate this year than any year in the past.”

The biggest innovation this year is the independently organized dyke march on Sat Jul 31. The march begins at noon in Victoria Park and concludes with a free concert starting 1 pm in Grandview Park (for details, see

Backing up a little, the Pride fun kicks off Jul 24 at noon with the Picnic in the Park, which was missing from last year’s roster. It takes place at Stanley Park’s Prospect Point picnic grounds.

“We’re bringing it back,” Schelling says. “It’s our flagship event. It’s been the official kickoff since we started.”

But while you’re taking in the festivities, remember to keep an eye on that past and remember those who allowed it all to happen.

A new event this year is the Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast. It’s named in honour of one of the founders of the Pride Society who passed away earlier this year. Organizers promise it will be a great way to kick off parade day at the West End Community Centre.

“You can go down there and have your breakfast before the parade,” Schelling says. Wallace “pretty well started everything. We thought it would be a fitting tribute. Without him, this day wouldn’t have been possible.”

Wallace’s longtime friend, Garry Penny, is helping organize part of the event. He sees it as a fitting tribute to Wallace.

“I think it’s actually very nice,” Penny says. “He did a lot of good for this community-more than most. It keeps a little bit of the past in the present.”

The entry-by-donation breakfast runs 8 am to 11 am, ending just in time for folks to get a good spot for the noon start of the parade.

While the VPS had considered starting the parade at Sunset Beach, it will run as it always has, and will-as usual-finish at the beach with the festival.

And the parade promises to be as fabulous as ever.

The city will have a good representation this year, says gay city councillor Tim Stevenson. He’ll be there with various members of council including Mayor Larry Campbell. The fire department and police department will also be represented; the police contingent will include Chief Jamie Graham.

The post-parade Sunset Beach festival site will once again feature booths showcasing local community groups and businesses, as well as stage performances hosted by Barb Snelgrove and Berend McKenzie. McKenzie is an actor who appears in the upcoming Catwoman film. The beach festival will feature a variety of performances (see the Ultimate Pride Guide inserted into this issue for further details).

But Pride Day festivities don’t stop there.

While the street fair and beer garden held last year aren’t on tap (an omission that has clearly upset a lot of the gay community), there will be a block party in the heart of the Davie Village.

The plan is to close off Bute St between Davie and Pendrell where performers including singer Kim Kuzma will entertain starting at 6:30 pm. The party is being put on by The Davie Street Business Improvement Association, not the Pride Society, to keep alive the spirit of last year’s hugely successful Davie Street Fair.

Music will also be in the air with Queer-Coustic. Running every night (except the Saturday) of Pride Week, the festival kicks off Jul 25 with acoustic and unplugged performers. It’s at the Alexandra Bandshell at Bidwell and Beach

“It’s music under the stars in the park,” Schelling says. “Bring your sweetie.”

It’ll be a slightly different beat at the Law Courts at Hornby and Nelson as the Pride Ball moves into the magnificent, Arthur Erickson-designed courthouse.

“Look at how far we’ve come,” Schelling says. “Fifty years ago, [the courts] used to send us to prison. What a great country!”

* For details of all official and unofficial Pride events, refer to the pocket-sized Ultimate Pride Guide, inserted in this issue of Xtra West.