Representatives with Central Alberta Pride Society, the City of Red Deer and local citizens gathered to walk across one of the rainbow crosswalks located in downtown Red Deer. Pride Week runs from Aug. 12th through to Aug. 18th, officially starting this Sunday with Pride in the Park. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Rainbow sidewalks kick off local pride celebrations

Pride Week officially runs Aug. 12th through to Aug. 18th

Red Deerians gathered on the morning of Aug. 9th to mark the beginnings of pride celebrations in the City. Officials with Central Alberta Pride Society showcased two rainbow sidewalks in the downtown core.

“Pride Week starts on Sunday with Pride in the Park,” said Serge Gingras, president of the Central Alberta Pride Society.

“This is the second year that we’ve had Pride in the Park at Bower Ponds – the previous three years we had a proclamation at City Hall.

“I think we had about 300 people two years ago and we had about 700 come through the site last year at Bower Ponds. And from what I gather through social media and conversations I have had with people in the community, I think we will surpass last year’s numbers,” he said.

There will be a variety of events taking place during the week including a Fruit Float on Aug. 12th beginning at 8 a.m. at Fort Normandeau. It will then travel along the Red Deer River to Bower Ponds.

Worship in the Park, hosted by the Gaetz Memorial United Church and Sunnybrook United Church, will take place at 10 a.m. at Bower Ponds Recreation Area.

Pride in the Park will then kick off at 11 a.m. for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.

On Aug. 13th, a community conversation hosted by MLA Barb Miller will take place at the Golden Circle from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“As a Society and as a planning group for Pride Week, we really endeavour to be inclusive, diverse and to have activities that are for everyone of all ages,” he explained. “We encourage people to come see us on Sunday at Pride in the Park.”

Gingras said he’s been living in Red Deer for 33 years, and said the LGBTQ community has come a long ways during that time.

“I also think that over the last three or four years we have grown by leaps and bounds in terms of being out in the community and having the community also embrace us,” he said. He added that the rainbow crosswalks are a gesture from the LGBTQ community to invite the community at large to embrace anyone and everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”

The paint was donated by Fargeys.

“My observation over the past three years is that we have seen more and more people come to us and support us,” he said. “In the last couple of years, and in particular this year, I have found that more and more businesses, organizations and corporations have come to us and really, really wanted to be part of our celebration and to support us,” he said, adding that support extends to a growing sense of diversity at large across the community.

“Pride Week is a celebration of the LGBTQ community but it’s also a reminder of where we come from as a community and as a society and also a reminder that there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“I’m really pleased to have observed the evolution of diversity and inclusion in our community on all kinds of different levels.”

For a full list of events, visit centralalbertapride.ca.

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