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Festival takes pride in more than one community
The third annual Royal City Pride Society's Pride Week is not just about the city's "queer" community taking pride in itself but also in New Westminster, says the organization's president.
The festival runs next Thursday (Aug. 16) until Aug. 19 at various locations.
"We have more people coming on board to volunteer, more businesses in the community are getting involved with us, the City of New Westminster has been really supportive, the community as a whole in New Westminster has been just tremendous," said Reinhart. "Our mandate is to support the queer community, but also a much larger community base. Our people are moving out into New Westminster from Vancouver and elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. We are a visible group now. We have a lot of new businesses in New Westminster, but we're trying to support not just queer businesses.
"We're really creating relationships and partnering up with a lot of groups which is fun for us."
Reinhart said the society wants to grow with the city with all the changes that are happening in it. They want residents to see that just like them they are a family group of people living in the community with kids and dogs.
She grew up in Coquitlam but has loved living here ever since moving to New West four years ago.
"Watching it grow in the last four years has made me extremely happy to be involved with the building of our community and the community as a whole. It's meant me finding a home, and being at home with an entire group of people," said Reinhart.
She wouldn't be surprised to see attendance at this year's festival double to more than 4,000.
The festivities begin with a laugh—lots of laughs actually—on Thursday.
Like last year, the Laff Riot Girls will open the festival performing at the Columbia Theatre on Thursday starting at 8 p.m. Lesismore and the Stonewall Party will appear the next night, Aug. 17, starting at 7 p.m., at the Heritage Grill.
The big day is Saturday when the society will hold its Pre-Pride Brunch at the Coming Home Cafe from 9 a.m. to noon followed by Hills and Heels. It's a fundraiser for New Westminster's Lookout Emergency Aid Society which will start from the Urban Gypsy, 614 Columbia St., at noon before going up Sixth Street to city hall for the Pride Proclamation.
The Pride Festival in the Park will run from 1 to 5 p.m. in Tipperary Park with performances by Kate Reid, Sugar Beach, Neptune at Night, Kiki Lawhore and others. The Pride Dance will be held that evening, starting at 7 p.m., at the Heritage Grill.
The festival, which will raise funds to benefit New Westminster's Lookout Emergency Aid Society, will conclude on Sunday with a brunch at The Boathouse, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For ticket information and more go to www.royalcitypridesociety.com.
Last weekend, the society used the city's float to participate in the Vancouver Pride Parade.