By AJ Trager
WINDSOR – Metro Detroit’s neighbor across the river will celebrate Pride this upcoming week. The LGBT community and allies from Southwestern Ontario will gather together Aug. 5th-10th. Weekend activities will all be held at the Riverfront Festival Plaza.
Windsor-Essex has been participating in the Pride celebrations since 1992 and over 5,000 people have attended the festival in celebration of diversity in previous years. The festivities will start at 10 a.m. on Aug. 5 at Windsor City Hall with a Pride Flag raising ceremony that will be attended by local dignitaries and community leaders.
Pride moves to Rosebowl Lanes at 7 p.m. at 2482 Dougall Ave. for Pride Bowling Night. Prizes, food and drink specials and two free games will all be featured.
Hosted by 93.9FM, the Aug. 8th music festival “River Rock” will feature an all-Canadian four-band line up including The Walkervilles, The Blue Stones, The Unquiet Dead and Tara Watts Band. The evening will also feature retail and food vendors. The evening’s festivities will last from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Pride will celebrate family oriented fun by turning the Riverfront Plaza into a big playground with food, entertainment and activities. The event will stage performances by Perry Noia The Clown, Zoo To You and magic and balloons by Jangles The Clown. There will be a Kids Zone play area featuring an inflatable Race Car bouncy castle, Enchanted Bouncy Castle and Disney Princess bouncy castle as well as face painting, balloon animals, a Home Depot craft table and the Windsor Fire Truck. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit the Pride Fest. Family Fun Day will last from noon to 5 p.m.
Evening entertainment will present APOLLO, named after the Greek god known of archery, poetry, the sun, light and music. Turning up the noise is DJ Alyson Calagna from Miami. Calagna has spun at big venues from around the world including Pacha, Stereo and The Guverment and has signed onto big dance labels such as Moody and Twisted. Also performing will be Windsor’s DJ Josh Karmin and Toronto’s own charming hostess, cabaret performer and Beyonce impersonator Sofonda Cox.
Sunday, Pride Day
The annual Pride Parade will start at 11 a.m. at the corner of Quellette Ave. and Elliot Ave. and will proceed through Downtown Windsor, ending at the Riverfront Festival Plaza. Everyone is welcome to attend, as event organizers believe it’s an event not to miss. They remind families that parade members will adhere to the city’s standards of decency as the community is a fan of good taste; the parade is a celebration of how great things are, not what shocks.
Pride Day will take place from 12-8 p.m. The event will hold award presentations and feature local artists such as Toronto’s Miss Conception, Liberty Deep Down, Michigan’s Sabin as Mistress of Ceremonies and many more. A suggested donation of $2 will be collected at the gate to help fund the event.
“Gay, straight, whatever… we don’t believe in labels, BUT we do believe in everyone having a good time together,” said the organizers of Windsor-Essex Pride.