Vancouver Pride 2017 has come and gone, and the festivities, old and new friends, spectacular parade, dance party, festival, and fabulous events will be missed. Bars, clubs, lounges, hotel rooms, condos, and public spaces were all packed throughout the weekend as people descended on Vancouver for a fun-filled weekend. A complete community event attracting LGBT people and allies from the Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Toronto, San Francisco, LA, Chicago, Las Vegas, and more, Vancouver Pride is more than just parties. Vancouver Pride 2017 was a celebratory weekend of diversity and a show of true pride of the diverse city that is Vancouver.
Friday Night kicked off the Vancouver Pride 2017 weekend with the Davie Street Party. While the event is still ‘caged’, the Davie Street party was huge improvement over previous years; open to the public for free and super easy to get into. The improved RFID wristband system made for an easy and helpful way to keep the bar lines moving quickly. Many great performers on-stage, including many local artists, musicians, performers, DJ’s, and drag queens graced the stare with plenty of local vendors, casual fare, and corporate activations present to keep the crowds entertained. The highlight of the evening was seeing the cast from Netflix’ Sense8.
Friday night also ushered in RUFF Pride. By far the best ever RUFF event in the events history, this year’s RUFF Pride was quickly taken over by the muscle jock’s, twinks, and 30-something gays dressed up to the nines in sexy harnesses and fetish gear. It was a great addition to the typically older crowd that is usually in attendance. RUFF Pride was the most popular Friday night event in downtown Vancouver.
Of course, Saturday didn’t disappoint with any lack of parties and events. New on the Vancouver Pride scene, Pure Pride was one of the biggest parties of Saturday night. Drag Queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race entertained the crowd with their over-the-top performances, while revelers danced the night away at Pure Pride. From lighting to sound, the event organizers did a fantastic job at producing an event that is sure to become a staple in Vancouver’s Pride weekend festivities for years to come.
Glitter was another extremely popular Saturday night event, filled with partygoers at a tried-and-true circuit-style event. Attendees were not disappointed; Glitter was filled with DJ’s and performers back for another year to put on a fantastic show.
Sunday afternoon, the streets of Vancouver were filled with glitter, boas, jockstraps, leather, lace, and all things rainbow coloured as thousands of people descended to downtown Vancouver for the 39th annual Vancouver Pride parade. Community leaders, activists, allies, local organizations, corporate partners, and marchers all came together to celebrate the achievements of human equality rights in Canada. Vancouver Pride parade celebrated diversity and inclusion, raising awareness of LGBT issues, while demonstrating to other nations that Canada is a prime example of being progressively world-class.
Noticeably absent was Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, who was in BC over the Vancouver Pride 2017 weekend, but according to a statement provided to Xtra West, the PM “unfortunately could not attend Vancouver Pride this year,” said the PM’s press secretary. Other notable absences from the Vancouver Pride parade were Black Lives Matters, a activist group against uniformed police in Pride parades, and Rainbow Refugee, a refugee service organization for LGBT refugees, which publically announced their retraction to participate in Vancouver Pride 2017 because uniformed officers, even in a limited capacity, were allowed to participate in specific roles in the Vancouver Pride parade, and their collaboration with Canadian Boarder Services Agency. However, many Vancouver Police officers who were at or in the Vancouver Pride parade were greeted, for the most part, with smiles and cheers.
The Sunday night highlight was when Davie Street, the heart of the gaybourhood, was magically transformed into an impromptu dance party. Untoxicated, a sober Pride event sponsored by TELUS, was an instant hit with everyone who was in or near the village. When the streetlight turned red, the crowds would pour into the intersection to dance to the beats from DJ Nina Flowers. When the light turned green, like the parting of the Red Sea, everyone quickly returned to the sidewalks to let the traffic through. The Vancouver Police did an excellent job at keeping people safe and directing traffic. It was truly a sight to see and behold.
Cruisey-T, a long-standing summer tradition, took hundreds of guests on their final cruises over Pride weekend. They popular party booze-cruise events, traditionally held May through Labour Day long weekend, wrapped up over Pride weekend for the season, but went out in style. Cruisey-T, which has always produced amazing party cruise events, will be sadly missed as part of Vancouver’s summer gay scene.
Simultaneously over the weekend, Alternative Pride hosted a series of events that proved, in only its second year, to be a favourite of many. The all-inclusive approach saw a wide-range of attendees, from the Friday night event, Spank, to the packed-house and fan-favourite, Backdoor event that Vancouver Arts and Leisure has become well-known for. While there were multiple events closing out Pride weekend, Alternative Pride’s Backdoor event was a popular choice of many.
It isn’t just all the parties and events that make Vancouver Pride special. Vancouver Pride brings the entire community together: the families, friends, and allies who come out to the events to show their support stand together in unity, showing their pride for themselves, their friends, and their family. Thousands of people attended. Thousands of memories were made. And another successful Pride has come and gone. Just like the city itself, Vancouver Pride truly is one of a kind.