On Saturday June 29, 2013, Grandview Park was splashed with colour and marked at all corners by big bright rainbow flags. Colourful tents and people scattered the grass like rainbow sprinkles on a giant green birthday cake. The park buzzed with excitement and chatter and steady foot traffic that lasted all afternoon and into the evening. Families picnicked on blankets with toddlers and Chihuahuas. Couples cuddled in the shade of tree trunks, and under parasols. Groups of friends lounged in the grass, soaking up the sun and the free entertainment. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, pansexuals, transgendered, transsexuals, genderqueers: queers of all kinds, in all styles, alongside our straight allies, all gathered together for a fun-filled day of pride, celebration, solidarity, and live entertainment.
In the early afternoon there was a feisty roller derby scrimmage on the track by the park, and DJ Chocha spun some slick beats from the stage. Children, youth and adults alike boogied it up on the grass: busting hip hop moves and hula hoop tricks, dancing around in rainbow kicks. The one and only Peach Cobblah hosted the event with style and sass, always keeping things fresh with a new dress and a new colourful wig each time she graced the stage. Peach introduced each performer with love and enthusiasm and kept all jokes and language PG for the kiddies, except the occasional slip of words like “ass” “cock” and “balls.” Peach wouldn’t be Peach without a little crass humour; it’s all part of her charm.
Tents piled high with art, pamphlets, information, hand-crafted clothing and accessories, rainbow jewellery, and the Beaver Tails food truck providing true festival treats, East Side Pride kick-started the Vancouver Pride festival season in style.
“It is one of nineteen Vancouver pride events,” says President of Vancouver Pride Society, Tim Richards.
And one of many events that take a whole lot of time, planning, and dedicated volunteers to put on. Throughout the day at East Side Pride there were tons of live performances to see, musicians, poets, singers, dancers, improv actors, and a handful of Vancouver’s favourite drag kings and queens of all shapes, styles and genders. There were poutine and Beaver Tails to eat, and pride merchandise to buy, but for the most part it was a completely free event, open and accessible to everyone. Which, Richards says, has been one of Vancouver Pride Society’s primary goals this year: making all of the pride festival events more accessible to all.
For this year’s Gay Day at Playland on July 13, 2013, there will be a community stage set up in a new location, so that everyone can enjoy more live music and drag performances even if they cannot afford to pay the Playland entrance fee. The Davie Street Dance Party on August 2 will have two blocks that will be open to people of all ages. And for the first time ever, at the Pride Festival and Market on August 4, Deborah Cox will be performing as the headliner. So get ready folks, dust off your flags, and pull out your rainbow socks because Pride season has begun here in Vancouver!