The official logo of Edmonton Pride
|Purpose||To endeavour to unify and educate by celebrating gender and sexual diversity through a sustainable annual festival and year-round community outreach within our Capital Region.|
|Edmonton Capital Region|
The Edmonton Pride Festival (commonly known as Edmonton Pride) is an LGBTQ2S+ pride festival, held annually in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The event is organized by the Edmonton Pride Festival Society, a non-profit organization, and is currently held in early June each year.
Unlike many pride parades which are held at the end of their associated festival week, Edmonton Pride hosts its parade near the opening of the event. As well, the Edmonton Pride Festival Society frequently chooses to designate community groups, rather than individuals, as the grand marshals of its parade; in 2012, the parade was led by the trustees of the Edmonton Public School Board, and in 2013 the event was led by the Pride Centre of Edmonton, the city's main LGBTQ2S+ community centre.
The first Pride celebration in Edmonton was held in 1980, and became a weeklong festival in 1983.
The event has its roots in the protest movement against a police raid on the Pisces Spa, a gay bathhouse, on May 30, 1981. However, unlike Pride Week in Toronto, which also had its roots in police protests against Operation Soap, the parade did not become a regular feature of the event until the early 1990s.
The 2013 festival was opened with the raising of the rainbow flag at CFB Edmonton on June 7, the first time in Canadian history that the flag was flown at a military base. The parade on June 8 followed 102 Avenue between 107 Street and Churchill Square. An estimated 30,000 spectators turned out for the event. Performers at the parade event included singer-songwriters Rae Spoon, Jeffery Straker and Kim Kuzma.
As of 2017, the Edmonton Pride Parade had 50,000 attendees.
On June 9, 2018, a group of protesters from within the community temporarily stopped the parade demanding law enforcement and military members be dis-invited from the parade and future parades due to community experiences of fear and discomfort with the police. After a period of negotiation between the parade organizers and protest organizers, parade organizers agreed to the requests of the protest and issued a statement that it "agreed with the demands, and that police and military members would not march in the parade until the community feels that they have taken the necessary steps for all community members to feel safe with their presence."
Pressured by the security issues posed by the lack of police presence, unsafe environment that the protests had created, and the precarious atmosphere that had followed, the Board of Directors announced on April 10, 2019 that following the results of their vote, the 2019 Edmonton Pride Festival would not go as planned. They cited the "current political and social environment" would prevent them from hosting an enjoyable and safe festival.
- "Edmonton Pride Festival draws crowds". CBC News, June 8, 2013.
- "Pride Week kicks off Saturday with popular downtown parade". Edmonton Journal, June 7, 2013.
- "Trustees to lead Pride Parade" Archived 2016-03-24 at the Wayback Machine. Edmonton Journal, May 25, 2012.
- "Looking back, moving forward" Archived 2013-06-20 at Archive.today. Vue Weekly, June 10, 2009.
- "Edmonton's invisible gay history" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. Edmonton Journal, June 17, 2012.
- "CFB Edmonton 1st base to raise gay-pride flag". CBC News, June 7, 2013.
- "Pride Parade draws thousands of kids and families to Churchill Square". Edmonton Journal, June 9, 2013.
- "Mid-parade protest was necessary to be heard, Pride demonstrator says". CBC News Edmonton, June 11, 2018.
- "Edmonton Pride parade blocked by protesters upset by police participation". CTV News, June 9, 2018.
- "2019 Edmonton Pride Festival cancelled". Global News, April 10, 2019.