October 22nd, 2020

Alternative plans being considered for Lethbridge Pride Festival


By Jensen, Randy on May 23, 2020.

Members of the community join the Lethbridge Pride Festival Committee to show their support with bright colours and positive messages during the last year’s Pride Parade. Herald photo by Greg Bobinec @GBobinecHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge Pride Festival is looking at digital alternatives to celebrate all areas of the LGBTQ2SA community.

With festivals for the summer being cancelled to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Lethbridge Pride Fest Committee is working quickly to find alternatives to celebrate Lethbridge Pride Week, this June.

“We are not completely cancelling the festival, obviously it is going to look very different this year, but we are working hard in this short time frame to come up with more creative solutions so that we can at least put on our main events so that our community has still something to look forward to,” says Jesse Harsanyi, Pride Committee chair. “We definitely want to find a way to broadcast our flag raising and have our flag still flying at city hall for the week that it is scheduled, and then the rest we are still in the process of brainstorming, so we hope to do an update later for something to look forward to that still follows social distancing.”

Working to keep the community together for this celebratory time of year, the Lethbridge Pride Committee says they are still brainstorming ideas to reach as many people as possible, to help bring hope through their expressions of pride.

“We are a huge umbrella for the LGBTQ2SA community, so we always strive for everybody to be included and now that struggle changes because not everybody has access to even streaming platforms or internet, so that will be a change that we will consider. Maybe we will have a few projects that will include people being able to decorate their homes or something,” says Harsanyi. “The most important thing for our organization is being able to give people that little bit of community and hope throughout the year and help people find the community, for people that just moved to the city, people that might not have the support from their family or workplaces, that is where we really found that we need to still do something.”

The community festival that draws out over 8,000 people each year to Galt Gardens receives a variety of funding to support the festivities. Harsanyi says their corporate sponsorships were still gifted to the organization to still produce some sort of online community event, which helps reduce the burden for local businesses who want to support the festival, but can’t because of the virus.

“Because we are a smaller community with a large festival, we like to keep a balance with our corporate sponsorships and our local business sponsorships,” says Harsanyi. “We did receive some corporate sponsorships that have been very gracious to us in keeping the funding for moving our platforms to digital or virtual platforms, and also for any performers or contracts that have already gone out, but we didn’t put any more burden on the local businesses in the community due to COVID-19 and to not add any extra pressure, so we will be working with what we’ve got this year.”

Although Pride is an invitation for the community to come together and celebrate all aspects of the LGBTQ2SA community, Harsanyi says the isolation break provides a good opportunity to reflect inwards and think about our personal pride and accomplishments.

“We have all gone through this COVID struggle and we have had the time to have this inward look to reassess, almost as a pause button, and I think that works with something like Pride as well,” says Harsanyi. “We have gotten used to this huge festival, members and money, but I think this is going to bring everybody back to the core value of why we are celebrating Pride as individuals and what is the purpose. As an organization, it’s our purpose to bind our community together and to offer that and showcase it in our community so they feel welcome.”

As the Lethbridge Pride Committee continues to find alternatives to bring a variety of different activities, live streams, and other ways of celebration, they invite the community to follow them on social medias for updates on events they are planning on hosting.

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