Capital Pride 'well on track' for August festival, but still seeking volunteers
After two summers of pandemic restrictions, Capital Pride is preparing for a major return to Ottawa streets in few weeks, and volunteers are still needed.
However, executive director Toby Whitfield says organizers are prepared for the 2022 festival.
"We're well on track for our largest Capital Pride festival ever and we're really looking forward to celebrating our community," Whitfield said, speaking to Newstalk 580 CFRA's "Ottawa Now" with guest host Andy Pinsent.
Capital Pride is scheduled to begin Aug. 21, with the Capital Pride Parade taking place the afternoon of Aug. 28.
Over the weekend, Montreal's Pride Parade was cancelled just hours before it was to begin. Its main organizer said it was because of there weren't enough volunteers and security to ensure safety.
Whitfield said cancelling the parade in Montreal must have been a challenging decision to make. He says Ottawa's festival is well on its way in its volunteer recruitment campaign, but the last two years of COVID-19 have created some difficulties.
"We don't have the same turnover year over year of folks coming back because we haven't been doing the festival in the same way over the last couple of years," he said. "I think, like other festivals, we're working with new vendors and new suppliers and lots of new folks in new roles."
Whitfield says the festival is looking to recruit up to 300 volunteers for the week, with 150 needed for the parade.
"We're looking for folks to help along the parade route, marshal the parade, keep it moving, to help set up the barricades, and also to just help stage people, direct folks, all of the well over 150 groups and organizations we have in the parade to get to the right spot in the parade lineup," he said. "We've got other roles all weekend, everything from helping to staff information tents to setting up tables and chairs and being on the street welcoming folks."
Whitfield says they're largely looking for volunteers for the Aug. 26 to 28 weekend. Details on how to volunteer can be found on Capital Pride's website.
This year's theme is "All Together Now" to reflect the return to in-person events following the restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
"Really, it's just a reflection of coming back together after a challenging couple of years," he said.