New Westminster's Pride Week bigger, better, and more diverse than ever

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      New West Pride Society’s annual Pride Week has upped the ante this year with an extensive list of events.

      The entirely volunteer-driven Pride Week will take place between August 8 and 15, and will start with the aptly named ‘Kick-off’ Party with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

      Guests are invited to The Hub (800 Carnarvon Street) for a pre-game gathering, which will be followed by a SkyTrain trip to B.C. Place for the soccer team’s Pride Night game. 

      Other highlights include a community brunch at LGBTQ community staple, Coming Home Café (753 6th Street), as well as pride parties, drag shows, and karaoke at different pubs around the city.

      Director Caroline Doerksen is most looking forward to Call and Response, a performance piece born out of a creative writing class where queer youth and elders exchanged questions with each other.

      “It started out as a writing exercise but after hearing [the questions] read out loud, we ended up turning it into a performance,” said Doerksen.

      “It’s very multi-dimensional. Some of our pieces are very upsetting, but some of them are hilarious,” she said. Doerksen be part of the performance, which will take place at River Market at Westminster Quay on August 9.

      Doerksen also highlighted Yeehaw!, a hoedown hosted by the Seniors Gay Straight Alliance, which will be held at Century House Community Centre (620 8th Street) on August 12. Despite the event’s name, guests of all ages are welcome.

      Although some events are specific to Pride Week, many of them occur regularly; sometimes as often as once a week.

      Of course, the cornerstone of New West Pride Week is its final event, the Street Party, which will fill Columbia Street with a number of attractions, including beer gardens, food trucks, and more.

      This year’s headlining musical act will be local favourite Bif Naked. Other acts will include Los Furious and I Am Mandrake.

      “Last year I was so shocked at how family-friendly the event was,” said Doerksen of her first experience as a volunteer in 2014.

      “It was smaller [than Vancouver Pride], but I liked it. I think that Vancouver Pride can sometimes be a little overwhelming. It’s different than a parade but I feel like it’s more interactive,” said Doerksen.

      The Street Party will take place on August 15 from 3 to 8 p.m., is free to attend, and can be accessed by transit easily via the New Westminster SkyTrain station.

      “You can explore little parts of it, or you can spend the whole day here if you like,” said Doerksen.

      “Either way, it’s a lot of fun, and there’s certainly stuff for everyone.”

      For full event details, or to sign up as a volunteer, visit the New West Pride Week website