East Side Pride: Because East Vancouverites can be queer too, ya know!

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      As Metro Vancouver heads into Pride season, something to keep in mind (especially for those of you who never cross any bridges, or Burrard Street for that matter) is that local queer communities do not equal the West End, full stop.

      Queer communities are geographically diverse across the Lower Mainland. And one of the first local Pride parades this year, East Side Pride, is a vibrant reminder of that fact.

      The grassroots parade and festival take place tomorrow (June 30, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The free, neighbourhood-oriented event takes place at McSpadden Park (at Victoria Drive and East 5th Avenue) and Commercial Drive. The parade, which starts at noon, boasts approximately 150 entries.

      Now in its seventh year, the festival originally began as the Stonewall Festival in the 1980s. (It's still held the weekend of the Stonewall Riots, which took place on June 28, 1969.

      The Pride Market will showcase 30 local artisans, businesses, and organizations and will include ethnic cuisine, handicrafts, chocolate wrestling (yum!), a health and wellness area (including HIV testing and counselling), a beer garden, and more.

      Hosted by Isolde N Barron, the lineup of performers includes the all-female Neptune at Night, dragsters Kiki Lawhore and Edward Malaprop, DJs Drew and Joi-Zee, queer comedy improve troupe The Bobbers, and numerous others.

      Other upcoming Pride parades and festivals in Metro Vancouver include the Surrey Pride Festival (July 8), the Vancouver Dyke March (August 4), the Vancouver Pride Parade (August 5), and New West Pride Week (August 16 to 19).

      And hey, if you wanna make it a truly full day of pride on the eastside on this Canada Day long weekend, you can head on over to the Cobalt in the evening after the festival to catch the drag king show Man Up.

      Rock on.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/StraightLGBT.