The Halifax Pride Festival has cause to celebrate after Halifax Regional Council approved the event for hallmark status earlier this month.
The nod is in recognition of the festival’s cultural and economic contributions to Halifax, and it comes with a $25,000 cheque to support the event.
“In addition to the financial support, which is very welcome, I think the most important aspect really is the validation of our community,” said Halifax Pride chair Hugo Dann. “That is the overwhelming tone of the response I’ve been receiving.”
“I would say it’s been a long time coming, but this is the first year that we’ve aggressively pursued hallmark status,” Dann added. “Our message [to city council] was that we have tons of potential, that we keep growing by leaps and bounds, and we actually need public support. And we need the feel of approval that hallmark-status gives us.”
Dann said the event organizers will “breathe a little easier” now that the festival has earned hallmark status, but it will still be business as usual during the Pride Festival, which will run from July 18 to 26. A highlight for the event is the parade in downtown Halifax on Saturday, July 25.
According to a press release from the organizers, the festival -- first started in 1988 -- is expected to bring an estimated 75,000 people and $2 million to the city.
“We have had some challenges in getting the big over-the-title sponsors, and I think that hallmark status sends a message from the city to the corporate community that says that Halifax Pride is actually an integral part of our summer,” he said.