• By: OLM Staff

Celebrating Ottawa’s Colourful Community

Ottawa’s queer community and its allies will be coming together and celebrating at this year’s Ottawa Pride Festival.

Known as Ottawa’s most colourful festival, Capital Pride will be hosting various events and activities in celebration of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. “Once a year, our community has the opportunity to come together and celebrate its positive contributions to the greater community, the National Capital Region,” says Mark Power, vice-chair of communications of Capital Pride.

This year marks Capital Pride's 27th anniversary.  From August 17 to 26, various activities will be taking place. The theme of this year's festival is Come Out and Play! “This year's theme captures the positive and celebratory spirit of the festival and will encourage members of the community to come together in Pride,” explains Power. “There might be a double meaning in there too (i.e. coming out), but no pressure – come as you are!”

Volunteers play a crucial role in the organization and execution of Capital Pride. “Our festival would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of its volunteers,” says Power.  “The event organizers, board members and festival crew are all volunteers.”

The programming offered during Pride is varied and targeted to the Ottawa's diverse LGBTQ community. Some of the festival's highlights include events organized by Capital Pride's community partners: the Leather Pride Brunch, Pride Week Karaoke, and a comedy night entitled Laugh Out Proud 8. Every year, a Pancake Breakfast is hosted by the Ottawa Police Services. In addition, the Capital Pride Awards Gala will be recognizing Ottawa's queer community leaders.

Fun for the Whole Family

There are also family friendly activities such as the Pride Parade and the Picnic in the Park. This year’s Picnic in the Park is hosted by Capital Pride, Rainbow Family Services, Children's Aid Society and Ten Oaks and will be happening August 21st at 4pm at the Hintonburg Community Center (1064 Wellington St). Burgers and hotdogs will be served, and there are fun activities for the kids, crafts & lots of fun for the whole family. There is no charge for this event.

Getting Youth Involved

Every year, the festival features programming targeted specifically to youth. The second annual Pride Prom will be taking place August 24th at Falldown Gallery. Last year's event was a huge success and Capital Pride wishes to continue offering fun events for young members of the LGBTQ community. Capital Pride's Youth Program Coordinator, Jodie McNamara, explains the importance of getting youth involved in the festivities.  "If the role of Capital Pride is to celebrate our sometimes undervalued diversity, the role of Capital Pride's Youth Committee is to assert that diversity anew," said McNamara. Youth interested in participating or getting involved can visit the Capital Pride Youth Facebook page.

Entertainment on the Big Stage

On the last weekend of Capital Pride, there will be entertainment at City Hall, on both the Alternative Stage and the Main stage. Admission is $5 to access the site and there will be a variety of vendors on site offering a variety of delicious foods and drinks. On Saturday, the Alternative Stage, which was introduced at Capital Pride last year, will feature musical acts like Jack Pine + The Fire, Kidstreet, Ornaments, Fevers, and the PepTides.

Every year, the Capital Pride festivities culmenate with the Pride Parade, happening on the last Sunday of the festival. This event is free for everyone. After the parade, musical acts will be performing on the Main Stage at City Hall. Performers include Hunter Valentine, Young Empires and Cherry Bomb.

Supporting the Community

Although they might not identify as queer, Power explains that allies and supporters of Ottawa’s queer community get involved in the festival every year. “We have several allies and supporters already involved in various volunteer capacities,” explains Power. “We hope to see everyone at the festival – the more diverse the crowd the better.”

There is no shortage of fun activities happening during this year's Capital Pride festival. So be sure to get involved and support our LGBTQ community. For more information on Capital Pride and to check out the programming schedule, visit www.capitalpride.ca.