Kootenay pride and joy

Today's pride parade was just one of several events of the 19th Kootenay Pride Festival in Nelson this weekend.

All photos by Tamara Hynd

The Kootenay Pride parade was full of flair as people made their way from Central School through downtown to Hall and Baker St. dressed to the theme: come as you are.

The annual event is one of many activities during the celebration by Kootenay Pride from Sept 4 through 7. The Kootenay Pride Festival began 19 years ago with the  goal of building bridges between people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Cole Johnston is one of four organizers of this year’s festival and said much has changed since the festival’s humble beginnings. Johnston recalls the first festival when he was 14 or 15 years old.

“There were a couple of trucks and what seemed more like people protesting,” he said.

“It’s really changed over the years,” said Johnston, adding that it’s more main stream now. “It’s a family event and there is a different mindset.

“Pride is about celebrating diversity, whatever that may be,”  said Johnston. As for the new rainbow coloured crosswalk, he thinks it’s “amazing”.

With the 20th anniversary of the festival next year, Johnston would like more people to get involved whether it be with organizing or volunteering just for one day as they would like the event to be a bigger celebration. For more information, visit kootenaypride.com.

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