Napanee, Ont. hosts its first Pride Parade Sunday
NAPANEE, ONT. -- The Pride flags are hanging from windows outside City Hall, as Napanee, Ont. gets ready for its first Pride parade on Sunday.
Earlier this year, the Greater Napanee Town Council voted in support of the creation of an official Pride parade and weekend. Put on by a group of volunteers, under the Greater Napanee Pride banner, there has been a weekend of events set up for people to celebrate.
The parade itself is something Jaidyn Stratford has been looking forward to.
"I’m really excited," Stratford told CTV News Ottawa in an interview.
After coming out as non-binary last year, they say it will be a chance to celebrate who they are.
"It’s going to be very relieving, because I don’t see a lot of people like me on TV and stuff," Stratford explains. "I think it’s really important we know each other’s differences and that we can’t all be the same person."
On Saturday, restaurants and businesses were flying LGBTQ2S+ flags, while sidewalks and the town sign are painted in Pride rainbow colours.
Jaidyn’s mom Jennifer Stratford says the parade is a chance to support Jaidyn and other queer youth.
"I want my child to be included and not be shut out or shunned away because of who they identify as," she says. "I want to show my support of Jaidyn."
During June’s Pride Month, large events in major cities like Toronto will be taking place, while nearby Kingston will host their parade.
Organizer Nina Irvine explains that it’s an important milestone to host one in Napanee, because they want the community to feel connected, and to know their represented at home.
"If we make our presence known we can make a huge difference for queer youth in town," she says. "And seeing that they have a place to come and that they have support and they don’t have to come out of town for that? That’s what we’re here for."
Irvine explains there will be several events throughout the weekend, including Saturday evening, where there will be an event called Pride in the Country, with family shows starting at 6 p.m.
On Sunday morning at 11 a.m., for the first time the official Pride parade will begin, marchers and spectators will make their way along the water starting at the Conservation Park, along the river. It will make its way though the streets, and up to Greater Napanee City Hall.