It’s the same old Queen Mermaid Pageant generations of Flin Flonners knew and loved - with one small twist.
The inaugural Drag Queen Mermaid event is on its way as a keystone event for the third edition of Flin Flon Pride this August. The event, set to be held at the Unwinder August 17, will be open to drag performers of all stripes, shapes and sizes.
Flin Flon Pride committee member and event organizer Jordana Oulette said the committee had reached out to both the Flin Flon and District Chamber of Commerce and the City of Flin Flon for permission to restore the Queen Mermaid name for the event. Both groups considered the measure kosher.
“They gave us the blessing,” said Oulette.
“Then we went through, we’ve been spending the past couple of weeks figuring out the history of the Queen Mermaid, figuring out all the previous winners and who’s still around.”
That research has paid off - two former Queen Mermaids, 1991 pageant winner Kristi Burke and 2005 winner Brittany Bilquist, will be judges for the contest, Oulette said.
The show’s prospective host, radio announcer Raphael Saray, may host the show in drag as well. The show will feature a full catwalk setup, with the Flin Flon Pride committee getting by with a little help from friends - namely, the production and stage team from Ham Sandwich.
So far, Oulette said responses from officials and relevant figures have been positive - if a little incredulous.
“They loved it. They laughed and they’re encouraging it. They’re like, ‘We can’t wait to see them’. When I approached Kristi and Brittany, like it was instant yeses from them, they were so excited,” she said.
Responses for potential participants, however, haven’t been as quick to come in.
“There’s been a few people tagging their friends and like commenting on Facebook. I’ve heard a couple people kind of like, ‘Ooh, I should do this.’ So I think right now, everyone’s just kind of waiting to see if anybody else is going to do it.”
Out of town talent is a possibility in case insufficient locals appear ready to vogue, but Oulette said the committee’s finances won’t currently allow for hiring drag performers from larger centres.
“This will be like a trial run to see how it goes, then we can make it into something bigger, hopefully in the coming years,” said Oulette.
“I was a little worried, honestly, like that. People were gonna be like, ‘Oh, they’re just turning everything gay,’ or they’re putting it in a negative light or something. It’s been positive so far. It’s not really that shocking anymore, because it’s always pretty positive with everything we do.”
Oulette said she expects some degree of pushback from some Flin Flonners because of the event, but said expecting bad reactions or even outright homophobia is the least of her concerns.
“Of course, I’m expecting it, but boy, we just can’t act like all that will happen. We’re not going to worry about the negative stuff anymore. I’m not feeding into it anymore.”
Drag show aside, preparations for other Flin Flon Pride events, including the Pride and Trans parades, the flag raising at City Hall and others, continues. The committee’s Pride crosswalk, located on Main Street, has been repainted after wear, tear and the elements destroyed most of the paint from last year.
“This is crunch time,” said Oulette.