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Pride’s new tagline: Ottawa’s most colourful festival

City coughs up a few more bucks; new logo unveiled

Planners shed some light on the serious task of planning and promoting Ottawa’s fun and frivolous annual Pride party May 11.

Front and centre was Capital Pride’s new logo — a purple star inside two purple circles, the symbol often used to mark a capital city on a map.

It’s the work of graphic designer Glenn Crawford. He has volunteered for Pride for several years and is leading the charge to get Bank St recognized as a rainbow village. He’s tickled pink — or “tickled purple,” he says — to have his work associated with the annual party, now in its 22nd year.

He says that the symbol is a natural fit, given that organizers changed the festival’s name from the Ottawa-Gatineau Pride Festival to Capital Pride in 2006.

“When the change happened, it was something that presented itself,” says Crawford. “It had to be something very simple, something that could be integrated with anything. I wanted to get away from the rainbow because it’s hard to reproduce at smaller sizes, like at the bottom of a poster. It had to be strong, but not overpowering.”

The launch, held in the sun-drenched lobby of the Arc Hotel, was a far cry from the press conference held two years ago this month. At that time, ballooning debts and ambivalence from city council threatened to cancel the celebration. Now, with debts reduced by 35 percent and long-term payment plans arranged for many of their creditors, organizers are in a good mood.

“We’re back for an even better year,” says Joanne Law, the chair of Pride and a former Pride marshall.

Treasurer Alan Chaffe agrees. They’re keeping it simple this year — focussing on keeping costs down, promoting local talent, and reaping the rewards of regular, smallish fundraisers. With that formula, they hope to put a dent in their $90,000 outstanding tab.

Pride’s grant from the City of Ottawa also grew this year — to $15,000, up from $12,000 in 2007. It shows Pride is regaining the trust of important community partners in a bid to live up to its new tagline: Ottawa’s most colourful festival.

“We were hoping for about 20,000, but 15 is still more than we got last year, which is great,” says Chaffe.

Add to that sponsors like The Knowledge Circle and The Arc Hotel and you get the sense that things are moving in the right direction.

Law is also pleased to have former boardmember Lee Callan returning to coordinate the volunteers.

“More hands make light work,” says Callan. “And when you have people returning form year to year, you don’t have to spend time training them.”

Marion Steele announced a partial list of this year’s events, drawing a self-deprecating chuckle during her introduction.

“We have an exciting lineup of events. As you know, these will change up to the last minute without any notice whatsoever.”

That lineup includes the Pride Parade; Rainbow Party Nine (featuring DJ Stephan Grodin); the dyke march and women’s stage; Laugh Out Proud; the Proud Chicks dance; a youth cabaret hosted by Jer’s Vision; a human rights vigil; and flag raisings at Ottawa and Gatineau city halls and the Ottawa police station.