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Campbell River Pride festival returns June 22

"Representation matters" — Campbell River Pride organizer
The Queen of East Van, Isolde N. Barron, alongside her wife, Peach Cobblah, return to host the CR Pride Festival. Photo contributed

Pride is coming back in Campbell River on June 22!

North Island Pride has a number of events planned for next weekend, starting with a "gay cruise" put on by Campbell River Whale Watching the night before.

"They're donating all of the proceeds to Pride," said Afton Frost, a board member at North Island Pride.

"I don't know how they tell which whales are gay though," she added, laughing. "They don't blow out glitter or anything, so how do they know?"

But that's not all that's in store for Pride this year. Frost said that on June 22, an all-ages Pride party will be taking over Spirit Square from 2 until 5 p.m.

"There'll be lots of vendors, lot's of performers," Frost said. "It'll be the same again as last year."

Then the big event is taking place in the evening at the Tidemark Theatre. Also an all-ages show, North Island Pride has invited Drag Queens Peach Cobblah and Isolde N. Barren to return for another year and host what Frost calls a "big performance! Drag Queens!"

"It's going to be amazing," she said. "I'm so excited ... It's going to be hosted by the two Drag Queens from Vancouver. They've come out and done our pride almost every year, and they're super supportive of our community ... there'll be some other up-and-coming performers who also have local connections.

"It'll just be a good night of dancing, and singing, and silliness," she added.

North Island Pride operates anywhere north of the Oyster River on Vancouver Island. Frost said the Campbell River often acts as a hub for Queer people who want to come and celebrate during Pride month.

"We want to be able to hold space for some of our smaller communities that maybe don't have as visible of a Queer community, and maybe aren't quite as supported and held as we might have the privilege of being. We want to be able to give them some opportunity to shine as well."

Campbell River's Pride event isn't the only on on the Island. Also coming up are Sidney Pride on June 15, Cowichan Valley's festival is on June 23, Victoria will host an event on July 7, Salt Spring Island has a multi-day event from July 25 to 28, Pender Island will have an event on Aug. 18, and the Comox Valley is holding their Pride on Aug. 24, with the goal being to provide a safe space for all who want it on the Island.

"The work we do is even more important," Frost said. "The representation matters. We need to be loud and vocal for those of us who maybe aren't as safe and privileged to do so."