Kelowna Pride 2018: Love Onward and Upward

Fun and festivities got turned up at Kelowna Pride 2018 in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Pride Pride Events Koelen Andrews

This article was published on August 23rd, 2018

One would never know that the summer pride season is winding down as fun and festivities got turned up at this year’s Kelowna Pride in Kelowna, British Columbia. Love, expression, community, joy, and acceptance were felt as this year’s Pride, when even a dark turn of events wouldn’t prevent folks from showing up and living out and proud.

Kelowna Pride 2018: Love Onward and Upward

The Pride weekend began in full swing Thursday night with the annual Trans March. This march saw over 150 people participating, including trans, gay, bisexuals, lesbians, and allies marching together for acceptance and respect. The Trans March went from the iconic Kelowna sails, along the boardwalk, to the Laurel Packing House.

Kelowna Pride 2018: Love Onward and Upward

At the Laurel Packing House—a historic building in downtown Kelowna that’s hosted numerous gay events for two decades—three important community speakers came to share their trans stories, including a local 13-year-old local trans person who has spoken at over 500 events, including discussing transgender issues with Canada’s Prime Minster, Justin Trudeau.

Kelowna Pride 2018: Love Onward and Upward

The big event Friday evening was full of fierce competition at Kelowna’s Next Drag Super Star. A five-judge panel certainly had their work cut out for them to narrow down the nine candidates to just two at this hilariously fun pageant. Legendary Vancouver drag queen, Raye Sunshine, was part of the judging panel. Raye Sunshine also performed a fantastic drag number, along with Calgary drag queen superstar, Laura Vanity. With the final voting left to a public vote using text messaging, the 2018 winner, Ari Hola, was crowned by the 2017 reigning champion, Ginger Snapp!

Kelowna Pride 2018: Love Onward and Upward

The Friday night party Fruitcake: Pride was hosted at Sapphire Nightclub in Kelowna. Great music, a fun crowd, and spectacular drag performances throughout the night by Raye Sunshine and the newly crowded Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar, Ari Hola made Fruitcake: Pride a great event to kick off the weekend.

Kelowna Pride 2018: Love Onward and Upward

Saturday saw more than 500 people from the community join in Stuart Park on the Kelowna boardwalk for the annual Pride March. Local dignitaries kicked off the event and led the march to Waterfront Park. The Kelowna Pride Festival included a live music, over 25 vendors, and a beer garden. It was a bright and colorful celebration that lasted throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Level Nightclub in downtown Kelowna hosted the Pride Wrap-up event featuring DJ / drag queen, Molly Poppins. It was a full house.

Kelowna Pride 2018: Love Onward and Upward

Despite all the fun that was had throughout the weekend, the true importance of Kelowna Pride was demonstrated on Friday evening, when one of Kelowna’s prominent drag queens—who wishes to remain anonymous—was attacked on the way home from an event Friday night. While Kelowna is an accepting community, this is an important reminder of why visibility, education, and Pride is important in all communities. Pride festivals around the world are still completely relevant and important for visibility, understanding, and community. Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley is known as a welcoming region to all people from all walks of life, but the events of the attack show there is still much work to be done: onward and upward!

Copyright: Brian Webb |

Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley hosted another hugely successful Pride 2018. Kudos to this friendly region for organizing the event, the community partners for their support, and the volunteers for their time. Their contributions are important to putting on these great events.

Plan your visit to Kelowna

Tourism Kelowna has great ideas on itineraries, things to do, places to stay, hot dining spots, and of course, wine and winery tours! Start planning your visit to Kelowna today.

Kelowna Pride is loud, proud, and queer in the Okanagan

Keep the party going all year long! 

Pride isn’t just a one-weekend long celebration. Celebrate all year long with fans, t-shirts, tank tops, and more with HomoCulture Gear! Use promo code KELOWNAPRIDE and receive a 20% discount on your entire order. Shop today!

HomoCulture Gear


Travel to Yukon During Pride Month

August 16th, 2023

Brian Webb 0

Fredericton Pride 2023: a Powerful Showing of Support for the LGBTQ Community

July 29th, 2023

Brian Webb 0

Calgary Stampede Celebrates 10th Annual Pride Day

July 12th, 2023

Brian Webb 0

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *