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The 35th annual Pride Parade takes place this Sunday, Aug. 4, with a twist. And no, Im not talking about the Foreskin Pride dude, who will not be taking part in this years popular event. Instead, the parade, which was recently designated an official civic event, will be hosted by a team including Angus Praught, Miss M and Barb Snelgrove for a special taping of the event for OUTtv, Canadas first LGBT-themed network.
Snelgrove says while a script will be provided, she warns that between the three hosts, the collective insider knowledge of most of the groups or individuals taking part in the parade should provide for interesting ad-libbing. So parade-goers along Beach near the Olympic inukshuk could be in for titillating tidbits.
With our combined history we should be able to provide some pretty colourful background, says Snelgrove, who will be inducted into the Canadian Queer Hall of Fame in Toronto this fall in a ceremony that will also posthumously honour author Jane Rule and former NDP leader Jack Layton. Snelgrove was recently awarded the 2013 TELUS Pride Legacy Community Superstar award, while Praught has actively promoted Vancouver and Canada as gay-friendly travel destinations to the world since 1996 and launched Gayvan.com Travel Marketing in 2003. Meanwhile Miss M has donated time and performances to many causes through her involvement with the Dogwood Monarchist Society, which bestowed her the title of Imperial Crown Princess in 2007.
Snelgrove says her biggest concern is the fact the special is being filmed in high definition. No close ups please, she adds.
Also playing hosts along the parade route will be Joan-E, Connie Smudge and drag king Ponyboy.
The grand marshals for this years parade include the moms of PFLAG Vancouver honoured for their 10-plus years in supporting fellow allies in the LGBTQ community, Brandon Timmerman, a young advocate who founded the first Pride group in Brockville, Ont., and Zdravko Cimbaljevic, who founded the LGBT Forum Progress years after he was deemed the first out gay man by media in Montenegro in southeastern Europe.
Members of the Canadian Olympic team will march in the parade to, as they say, set an example of friendship, respect and excellence. The athletes message is clear: The practice of sport is a human right and everyone should be able to play and compete free from discrimination of any kind. On that note, I predict solidarity with the LGBT communities of Russia will become the unofficial theme of much of the parade.
And of course no Pride Parade in Vancouver would be complete without Dykes on Bikes, who start the party every year accompanied by members of the Vancouver Police Department motorcycle unit.
The parade begins at noon on Robson Street at Thurlow before heading west to Denman and then following Pacific and Beach to the Sunset Beach Festival, which will be hosted by David C. Jones and Symone Says and featuring performances by Deborah Cox and more.
New to the festival is the installation of a high-resolution LED screen where the parade will be broadcast from start to finish in the beer garden. On tap will be Vancouver Pride GAle beer produced in conjunction with the Vancouver Pride Society and R&B Brewing.