© Jeff Harper - Metro Halifax
Mayor Mike Savage, centre, gets dressed up as a diva to throw out the first pitch in the annual Dykes vs Divas baseball game as part of Halifax Pride Week last year.
As the Halifax Pride festival draws closer, residents might start noticing their favourite fairytale characters are popping up around town – with a twist.
Ramona Westgate, Halifax Pride board chair, announced the 27th annual festival lineup on Thursday, including the “Once Upon a Pride” theme featuring a bearded fairy godmother, mermaid in a wheelchair, and buff Pinocchio with a rainbow flag on his nose.
“The festival has grown immensely in the last number of years, it’s really exploded,” Westgate said about the event that runs from July 17 to 27.
Besides the “diversified” characters throughout the Pride guide, Westgate said cutouts of the cartoons might appear at events, including new ones such as Laugh Out Proud at Yuk Yuk’s, and the punk-rock show Outloud! at Michael’s Bar.
Out Best in Show is the festival’s first dog show, Westgate said, and gives people the chance to show off their “fur babies.”
Scott Jones, co-founder of the Don’t BE Afraid awareness campaign against homophobia, will be the Grand Marshal for the July 26 parade.
Trans Connect’s All-Bodies Swim brings an inclusive environment to the Centennial Pool, Westgate said, and Pride is happy to support an event that encourages people to be “comfortable and accepting of the packages people come in.”
A new Pride Youth Dance also allows those under 19 to have fun in a drug and alcohol free environment, Westgate said.
Over the last few years, the Pride parade has grown to about 110,000 people, which Westgate said helps make Halifax the fourth-largest Pride festival in Canada.
Westgate said she hopes anyone attending Pride think about what diversity and inclusion means to them.
“There are so many … ways that make us different, and that’s what makes us each special,” she said.
Go to halifaxpride.com for a full list of events.