The ninth annual Muskoka Pride Festival kicked off on Friday, July 21 with a barbecue and party in River Mill Park.
The festival has come a long way. “In 2009, we had 26 people at our very first picnic,” says organizer Shawn Forth. “Last year, we had 400 people and 850 people attended all the different events over the course of the week.”
He’s expecting a similar turnout this year and Forth says anyone planning to attend any of the Muskoka Pride events can expect a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. “We really want to bring the Muskoka attitude to Pride festivities. It’s Pride with a waterfront view. Anyone is welcome to attend – gay, straight, bi, trans, anywhere on the rainbow spectrum, and it’s important for allies to come out as well.”
The Muskoka community overall has been supportive, says Forth. “It really is an accepting and inclusive community. Every community has a little ways to go and Muskoka Pride sees itself as an organization helping to build those bridges.”
The kick-off party featured a free barbecue, music, games, and community information. More events are planned across Muskoka through to July 30 – see the full schedule here.
For more information about Muskoka Pride, visit muskokapride.com or call 1-866-659-LGBT (5428). Family and friends of people identifying as LGBTQ who are looking for support can contact PFLAG or watch for meetings in Muskoka.
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