The city will be partying with pride for the next week as Edmonton 2010: A Pride Odyssey will be celebrating 30 years of bringing the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community together.

From June 11 to June 20, the city will be covered in rainbows, pink feathers and festive crowds. There will be dancing in the streets, drag shows, and of course, a parade to end all parades.

“There are 65 parade entries this year compared to 54 last year,” said Colleen Sutherland, a spokesperson for Pride Week and president of Womonspace, a group for lesbians.

This year’s parade marshal will be Team Edmonton — a group of gay people who organize team sports for the entire community. The parade itself starts on Jasper Avenue and 108 Street and winds up at Churchill Square.

“It’s best to be on the south side of Jasper Avenue for the best views,” Sutherland said. “It’s important to note that the parade starts at 1 p.m. this year, which is an hour earlier than previous years.”

Events celebrating the spirit of camaraderie, honour, pride and respect will be happening throughout the city for the next 10 days.

Events like the Big Queer Dance-A-Thon (Friday, June 11 at the PRISM Bar and Grill), Celebration on the Square (Saturday, June 12 at Churchill Square after the parade), and a Queer History Bus Tour (Monday, June 14 at the Citadel Theatre), to name a few.

Sutherland said Pride Week has been happening in Edmonton for the past 30 years, but she’s really seen the growth over the past five years. “Speaking from a personal point of view, being gay is certainly easier than it used to be,” she said.

 

“Doing what I’m doing now for the Pride Week Society, I probably wouldn’t have done five years ago just because I’m a mother and I have kids and it wasn’t as socially acceptable to be out.”

Now that the acceptance is there, for the most part, Sutherland said even the straight community is catching.

“The straight world has jumped on board because they’re realizing there are going to be probably about 28,000-30,000 people at the square or at different events throughout the week,” she said. “What a better way to advertise than to get into a parade for free with a market of about 25,000 down at the square.”