Event Recap: Vancouver's Pride Festivities [Gallery]
Without a cloud or raindrop in sight, a twisting, turning and pulsating rainbow lined almost two miles of Vancouver’s roads on August 5. In the days leading up to these few magical hours rogue rainbows cropped up all around the city in the form of street parties, rooftop cocktail soirées and charity fundraisers for Vancouver’s annual Pride Festival.
To get in the mood for Sunday’s magnanimous parade, four blocks of Davie Street, the epicenter of Vancouver’s gay community, shut down on Friday to make way for a street party of epic proportions. DJs played throughout the stretch, creating hives of twirling and gyrating dance activity. Strangers became friends and lovers as the crowd throbbed closer and closer together the darker the night became.
People traveled far and wide to attend the parade, which is now in its 35th year and the fifth largest celebration of its kind in the world. It draws over 650,000 men, women and children to Vancouver’s West End to celebrate the LGBTQ community, making it the biggest parade of any sort in Canada.
As onlookers staked claim on coveted areas of sidewalk, pounding music cascaded down from apartments lining the streets. Balconies teemed with people — drinks and flags in hand — observing the color from a bird’s eye view. The excitement on the beachfront road was palpable as we all waited for the first of over 150 floats to turn the corner and appear on the horizon.
We could hear the roar before we saw the Dykes on Bikes loop and circle the pavement, leading the long procession of scantily clad revelers, towering drag queens, and costumed mascots. Beautiful people danced with abandon to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, a man wearing only a hat walked regally through the throng, and latex clad bodies braved the burning sun. Eyes were opened to sights and scenes that screamed of love and acceptance.
Once the last whispers of the parade petered off, crowds converged on the grassy hill neighboring Sunset Beach, where beer gardens and food carts lay waiting for the deluge of thirsty and hungry partiers. For those in need of an escape from the sun, the bars on Davie Street opened their doors for dance parties and drag shows.
One doesn’t need to be part of the LGBTQ community to partake in the festivities, as the long fingers of Pride blanketed the whole city of Vancouver in sparkles, smiles and rainbows.
Images by Baron S. Cameron