May, 2013 / Author:

Pride Winnipeg festival steps it up with two major headliners and a greater presence in our community

It’s the happ-happiest season of all! That’s right, it’s time to celebrate our Pride, and this year, we all have a lot of reasons to be proud. President of Pride Winnipeg Jonathan Niemczak said Pride Winnipeg’s proudest achievement this year was how they have become a greater presence, not just within the LGBTT* community, but within Winnipeg.

Niemczak noted that this was the first year they’ve had a float in the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade, they have become more connected with the Rainbow Resource Centre and they are expanding their own reach within the community. “We have recently added a community liason position to our committee,” he continued. “This person will be one who takes the pulse of the community at large, recognizing their goals and receiving feedback from this. From this, we will be able to modify the plans and operations within Pride, in order to prioritize the wants and needs of the community.”

With this year’s mantra of “equALL,” along with the community outreach and collaborative developments, the 2013 Pride Winnipeg festival hopes to draw in more than the 30,000 attendants of last year. Niemczak excitedly describes that CabarGay, Pride’s variety show fundraiser, was able to bring two drag artists, Electra Storm and Penelope Vanderloon, out of retirement for this special occasion.

The most exciting thing of all is that the festival will have two major headliners this year. The first act is Ultra Naté, an American female dance-pop sensation, who will be followed on stage by Kristina Maria, a Canadian-born chart-topper. 

Our “Pride of the Prairies” is the largest celebration between Vancouver Pride and Toronto Pride and after many years and many milestones, there is a lot to remember in the history, culture, and spirit of the people within the Winnipeg community. 

Collin Wynter, best known as the Internet sensation Dancing Guy after he was caught dancing up a storm at the Sasquatch music festival, recounted his Pride journey. “Well, my very first Pride, I was chained up to a float as Cupid,” he begins, recounting the years. “Last year, I did a news piece on the 25th anniversary for Outlook TV. I have volunteered for Pride, painting my buddy and I in body paint in front of a group of people. I’ve done it all: I’ve done drag, been Ms. Gio’s and had my own float. I’ve been on rollerblades in every way one can go in rollerblades,” Wynter said. And just when I thought he was done, Wynter admitted he was also on the first cover of Swerve, the progenitor of OutWords.

He has also participated in the Vancouver, Calgary, and Melborne’s Pride celebrations. Wynter is now based out of Melbourne as a DJ for JOY 94.9, an LGBTT* volunteer-based community radio station, but he will be keeping up and sending support to his Winnipeg comrades as they march through the streets, who may or may not also be chained to a float.

 


Pride winnipeg, the ever-present voice within the community, kicks off its official 10-day festival on May 24.

  • The Pride day rally at the Manitoba legislative building will begin at 11 a.m. on June 2, at Broadway and Memorial. Rain or shine, there will be thousands of people on the steps of the building, getting excited for the day. Following the rally, the parade through downtown Winnipeg will begin at noon on the dot. Pride’s goal is to have the floats and marching groups of people flooding the streets with our own brand of rainbow. 
  • After the march ends back at the Manitoba legislative building, it’s on to The forks for an afternoon of singing, frolicking at the food vendors and beer tents with Pride’s own Queer beer and celebrating with live music all day. Community groups and local businesses will have outlets set up and don’t forget about the Manitoba teachers’ society, who sets up a kid zone for families and children to enjoy the day. 
  • At the end of that beautiful day, Pride-goers will enjoy a night dancing away at the official dance party. Early– bird tickets are now available on the Pride website, with special early–bird pricing, but just like all good things, these ticket prices won’t last forever, so get them while they’re hot. 
  • For more information and to see the full 2013 program, keep checking back with www.pridewinnipeg.com.

 


– Marina Koslock is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

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