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A roller skating parade along Lakeshore Drive. A disco party at Penticton's new outdoor rink on Martin Street. It's all happening this Sunday, June 26 starting at 2:30 pm, and the whole town is invited.
Even better? It's all free.
The afternoon of freebie roller skating fun is the newest addition to the local Pride Month calendar. It started off as an idea in the cranium of Penticton educator Rachel Beeson, who then turned to Penticton Roller Skate founder Kim Wall to switch it into overdrive.
"At 2:30, we're all meeting at the SS Sicamous," said Beeson Monday evening at the outdoor rink. "At 3 we roll from the Sicamous to the rink at Gyro Park (hence the official name "Rolling Pride Parade"), and that's where the disco party happens."
Wall was immediately taken with the concept.
"Rachel approached me and asked if we'd like to partner for a pride event, and I was absolutely yes," she said. "So I'll be at the new outdoor rink that Activate Penticton has provided to the community.
"We'll have decorations and there'll be rental skates at the rink along with protective gear at no charge. There'll be music too and it'll basically be the whole roller rink experience except even better because it’s outdoor. We figure the party will start around 3:30."
According to Beeson, all regional middle and high schools and some elementary schools have officially been invited, as has the PIB and a whole lot more.
"And we're sponsored by Tim Horton's and Canadian Tire," she added, "So there'll be cool prizes and swag. And donuts!"
Clearly, the organizing team is hoping for a big turnout. But, they say, numbers are far from the driving reason behind the event.
"My thoughts on designing it," said Beeson, a teacher with School District 67, "are with the kiddos I work with. I wanted it to be accessible for everyone, including families, so even if there's one kiddo in one of those schools I work for who identifies as other and can come out and feel celebrated, then it's worth it for me."
With Beeson and Wall Monday evening at the rink was fellow Penticton Pistolera Jessie Wilson, who reiterated the one-is-enough credo.
"Having coached juniors in Vancouver for seven years and skated in many Pride parades in Calgary and Vancouver, I think it's really important that there's representation whether it’s 100 people or one. Because if one person sees one person there, that's good enough."
However, added Wilson, she hopes those who might not directly participate might show up to support.
"Everyone can come out and show their support," she said. "Just seeing that representation is really important whether you identify as queer, gay, lesbian, trans, or straight. It's just really cool to see all of that there."
Costumes for the all-ages, booze-free event are encouraged but not required. For more information, email [email protected]