Flags of green, yellow and all the colours of the rainbow — a common symbol of gay pride and diversity — will be flying high this weekend with the annual Pride Parade making its way through the city.
An important celebration in light of Sunday also marking the official closing of yet another popular gay hangout, the Calgary Eagle.
“We can tell just by attendance that it’s very important to the community that this type of event continues to exist especially at this time,” said Calgary Dyke March committee member Juliet Burgess.
Over the years the city’s gay community has suffered many such losses, as Gay Calgary publisher Steve Polyak explained that a decade ago there were 11 bars that were designated LGBTQA watering holes.
After this weekend there will be only three designated gay establishments left —Twisted Element, The Back Lot and Texas Lounge.
Gay community representatives agree that in spite of the recent gay bar closures the LGBTQA community numbers have not dwindled.
“As much as we need more (bars) open, we are not at a loss for our community just because the bars are gone,” said Pride Calgary president Dallas Barnes.
“We might be losing gay space but we’re finding alternatives,” Polyak said.
Although the LGBTQA community is finding other means of connecting, Burgess said there is still a need for “like-minded gathering spaces.”
Pride Calgary said this year will be the longest parade in its history with approximately 25,000 people expected in attendance.
The Winners HomeSense Pride Parade takes place Sunday at noon beginning at Olympic Plaza and travelling along Stephen Avenue to finish at Shaw Millennium Park.
Other Pride events taking place this weekend:
Saturday September 1
The Possibilities Bi-BBQ at James Short Park, 115 4 Ave. S.W.
Time: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The 3rd annual Calgary Dyke March. Meets at William Aberhart Park at 24 Ave. and 2 St. S.W. Will march to Rouleauville Square.
Time: Meets at 11:30 a.m., march starts at 12 p.m.
PurePride Dance at Flames Central at 219 8 Ave. S.W. Includes a performance of world-famous Cher impersonator Chad Michaels.
Time: 9 p.m.
Tickets: $41. 50
Sunday September 2
Pride Calgary Street Festival at Shaw Millenium Park, 11 St. and 9 Ave. S.W.
Time: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.