With only days remaining until Flin Flon’s largest LGBTQ+ celebration, organizers of Flin Flon Pride are hammering down details.
Holding a community event during COVID-19 adds an extra, complicated dimension into what is already a complicated undertaking, said lead organizer Jordana Oulette.
“We’d already planned things before COVID-19 hit. We had the Flin Flon Community Hall booked out, we had MuchMusic Video Dance coming back, we had the Victoria Inn booked to do a big dinner/social thing,” she said.
“We thought, ‘Maybe we could put that on the backburner, maybe the restrictions could be lifted.’ Then, it was a lot of waiting. We thought we would need a plan B.”
The change has led to a last-minute rush, comparatively speaking, to get everything done.
“It’s less than a month until Pride and we’re still planning things, which is weird because normally everything is set in stone by then.”
The start of the event will begin as normal, with the annual raising of the Pride flag at Flin Flon City Hall August 14 at 5 p.m. Up to 100 people can attend the gathering, as per provincial health orders.
“We’re going to go there and space everything out, draw X’s and hopefully get some pylons too,” said Oulette.
“I’m not expecting more than 100 people to be honest, but if it happens, we’ll figure that out.”
The party will continue Aug. 15 with a reprise of Pride in the Park, a family oriented afternoon of fun at Rotary Park from 1 p.m.-4 p.m, weather permitting. The event was held during previous editions of Flin Flon Pride, but was not held last year after bad weather washed things out.
“We did it two years ago and it was really, really well received. Last year, we had to cancel it because of the weather. We’re going to do it again this year, but we’re going to do it at Rotary Park,” Oulette said.
Later in the evening, organizers will be taking advantage of 102.9 CFAR to hold a radio dance party and phone-in request show, hosted by the Pride committee and on-air talent Raphael Saray. Holding the party over radio will allow people a chance to dance while staying safe at home, avoiding any unnecessary public gatherings.
Flin Flon Pride’s marquee event, the annual Pride parade, will take place Aug. 16. Instead of holding a parade similar to the Trout Festival Canada Day parade, the parade will take the form of a march, using no floats or large vehicles. The march will take on a shorter route, starting on Green Street and Balsam Avenue and going down Green Street, then turning left on Highway 10 and going down toward the Flin Flon Tourism Bureau. This year’s march will take place on sidewalks instead of on closed streets.
Masks are recommended during the march and those taking part are advised to socially distance if possible.
“I think with where we are with the restrictions, you can kind of do whatever you want outdoors. It’s kind of giving us more freedom. I feel like we’re more encouraging people to join the march this year - you can come and watch, but we want you to join. That way, I think it makes more of a statement,” Oulette said.
Pride will continue on throughout the following week online, with the reigning Drag Queen Mermaid Miss Bijoux reading a series of bedtime stories online July 17, 19 and 21.
“Around 7-8 p.m., we’ll be doing those every night,” said Oulette.
“It’s something fun, something different.”
The final event of Flin Flon Pride 2020 will be the second edition of the Drag Queen Mermaid event. Much like last year, the pageant will take place at the Unwinder - unlike last year, it will only be for a limited number of guests, 30 people at most. The event will be streamed on the Flin Flon Pride Facebook page to allow for a larger, isolated audience.
Last year’s winner, Miss Bijoux, will host the event this year and will be unable to defend her crown. Oulette said five new challengers, all with local roots, have stepped up to try to fill her heels. Winners will receive $500 and the sassiest beauty pageant title in Flin Flon.
“As of right now, there are five people registered,” Oulette said.
“We have some people who will be home for the summer.”