This year’s event is Loud and Proud in 2022!
By Darren Lum
Love is at the heart of the upcoming Minden Pride week of festivities hosted in the Highlands.
The chair of Minden Pride Allan Guinan invites the public to this year’s Minden Pride series of events, which he characterized as a “really fun and feel good event.”
“There’s lots of goodwill. If you want to come out and see some talent and some interesting things then I would suggest coming out to Minden Pride because there’s lots of fun stuff going on,” he said.
Guinan said Minden Pride’s attribute is how it is a “grassroots type of event,” so it will appeal to people who don’t like the city pride events such as Toronto Pride.
When Guinan sees the Progress Pride flag raised on Monday, Aug. 22 at the Township of Minden Hills office he said it not only represents the start of the Pride week, but also the community’s support.
“[The raising of the flag represents] the importance of Minden Pride in the community and the fact the community has been so supportive of us for the last seven years. So, to me, it’s a really very important event,” he said.
He adds the flag will fly for at least the duration of the Minden Pride week. A coffee reception will follow at the Up River Trading Co. on Bobcaygeon Road in town.
Later that day (Aug. 22), Healing Colours, a queer wellness night at Dimensions, is at the Dimensions Algonquin Highlands retreat from 5 to 8:30 p.m. There will be an opportunity to meet the team and to go on a guided site tour and an opportunity to sample wellness sessions. Space is limited. Dimensions is a presenting sponsor of Minden Pride.
There will be a Meet and Greet with the organizing committee members, and the members of the charitable organization, the Rainbow Railroad on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 5 p.m. at the Boshkung Social.
Drag Storytime returns with Auntie Plum like other years with two dates, one at the Dysart branch in Haliburton on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 3 p.m. and the other at the Minden branch on Thursday, Aug. 25 at 3 p.m.
“The library is a welcoming space where inclusion, intellectual freedom and respect are championed as part of our mission and values. This family-friendly program is a library tradition with a focus on diversity and fun for all ages,” said Christopher Stephenson, Library CEO at Haliburton County Public Library in a press release provided by the HCPL and Minden Pride.
Guinan said the Drag Storytime has been successfully run for four years as part of the week of festivities.
“The stories being read to the children will address ideas of free expression and underline the importance of being open and accepting of everyone regardless of their differences,” Guinan said in the release.
“Both Minden Pride and the HCPL have been targeted with homophobic and discriminatory comments made by those in the community who see this type of performance as being threatening toward children and/or promoting a sexual agenda. Rest assured, this will be a fabulous and family-oriented experience, open to people of all ages. We encourage community members to come out and show support for diversity, equality, and inclusiveness in the Haliburton Highlands,” per the joint from HCPL and Minden Pride release.
On Aug. 24 there will be the Queer Comedy Night hosted at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 129 Haliburton club room at 7:30 p.m. It includes comedians Hillary Yaas, Robert Watson, Heather Mariko and Dylan Mahaney. This is a 19-plus event. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Tickets are limited. Purchase tickets at Up River Trading in Haliburton or Minden and at the Wolf Moon Shop Minden.
On Thursday, Aug. 25 there will be the Drag Cocktails, which will be hosted by Plum Vicious at 5 p.m. at the EAT Cheeserie + Cocktails and it will serve as a primer for the Trivia Night at 7 p.m. at the Dominion Hotel on Bobcaygeon Road in Minden.
Among the events Guinan is anticipating is the Pride River Parade.
It starts at the Rotary Park, on the Gull River and goes to the vehicle bridge in Minden at 12:30 p.m.
“Another event we’re really excited about this year is the Pride River Parade. We started it last year as kind of a test, but this year, we’re really hoping that we’re gonna get a lot more people behind it and get a lot of people out onto the river on Sunday,” he said.
He adds the setting is ideal for the floating parade through town, which starts at the Rotary Park, located a few minutes north of town on Highway 35.
“I think it’s just really fun that people come out and show their own support in their own way for Pride. And that’s for all of us. Should be lots of fun. Hopefully, we’re going to have people participate, and people observing along the river. We’ll have prizes for the most creative and the most imaginative floats. Should be a fun day,” he said.
Per the event flyer: “Watch the Pride Parade. Come for the fest and enjoy all the rest!”
After the parade there will be the Street Fest from 1 to 3 p.m. on Water Street in Minden. The Street Fest includes children’s activities and face painting, and more than 20 local food and product vendors, including entertainers.
The very popular Viva Burlesque Show returns at the Pinestone Resort at the Grill on the Gull Patio on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. This will be a showcase of several drag performers, including the Highlands’ Plum Vicious. It is a 19-plus event. Tickets are $45. Purchase tickets at Russellredrecords.ca.
Toolbelts and Tiaras Tea Dance, including a silent auction is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the next day on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Grill on the Gull patio in Minden. From promotional material: “Shake your booty to some great tunes, show off your inner diva and take part in our AMAZING silent auction.”
He said there was support for the return of the burlesque show, which is sure to draw a crowd for the spectacle and for how it fulfills a demand.
“I think everyone is ready to get out and celebrate and enjoy life again,” he said.
Guinan said for all the “feel-good things” related to Minden Pride there is also a serious aspect that can’t be overlooked, whether it’s advocating against conversion therapy or raising awareness about how homophobia still exists.
“We’re there because of homophobia and hate crimes that have occurred in the past and are still occurring and occurred all across Ontario this year, and small communities. So, from our perspective, it’s important that we are politically active, we are addressing those things where there is still work to be done,” he said. “There’s still hatred out there and is what our community experiences. So, from our perspective it’s important to do the good work and to make sure that people know that there are issues that still need to be considered and addressed.
Guinan said this is where the “Loud and Proud” theme of this year’s event comes from.
“It’s been pretty quiet for a couple of years. We’ve had some sort of presence. But I think everyone now wants to move forward and continue to have the support that we’ve had in the county. I think that is critical.”