On Saturday, the Airdrie Pride Society (APS) hosted its Pride Festival and Solidarity walk in the City. The theme of this year's event was 'Perseverance in Pride'.

President of APS, Rhianne Fiolka, explained why perseverance was such an important aspect of this year's events.

On Saturday, the Airdrie Pride Society (APS) hosted its Pride Festival and Solidarity walk in the City. The theme of this year's event was 'Perseverance in Pride'.On Saturday, the Airdrie Pride Society (APS) hosted its Pride Festival and Solidarity walk in the City. The theme of this year's event was 'Perseverance in Pride'. (Photo by Brea Potter)

"We really wanted to highlight perseverance through pride, specifically Canadian history around Pride and how the queer community has had perseverance throughout time. It was very pertinent this year. We've also had discussions from the UCP government around [the] trans-exclusionary policies [that came] in the fall; so, it was really important for us to highlight the perseverance of the queer community, and be able to show that pride is still here and still loud."

On Saturday, the Airdrie Pride Society (APS) hosted its Pride Festival and Solidarity walk in the City. The theme of this year's event was 'Perseverance in Pride'. (Photo by Brea Potter)On Saturday, the Airdrie Pride Society (APS) hosted its Pride Festival and Solidarity walk in the City. The theme of this year's event was 'Perseverance in Pride'. (Photo by Brea Potter)

Weeks before the Pride Festival, APS had announced its decision that it would be joining other Pride organizations across Alberta and not allow the participation of the United Conservative Party (UCP) in its 2024 Pride activities.

In a written statement, the APS said that their position is the direct result of the UCP's recently proposed policies surrounding transgender youth.

"... Which directly target and harm our Two-Spirit, Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Diverse community through the stripping away of fundamental human rights. The UCP's proposed policies and the significant amount of misinformation accompanying the announcement are not evidence-based, are misinformed, and have been created without the consultation of medical experts, mental health professionals, educators, community groups, or members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community," the statement read in part.

Fiolka said that this year's events were very well attended and that there were many highlights, both emotional and lighthearted. The day began with the Pride Solidarity Walk from Airdrie City Hall to Nose Creek Park. 

"After a ceremony opening, we walked to the flagpole and did a flag-raising led by our Youth Advisory Committee," she said. "Throughout the day, we had performances and people wandering around... Everyone loves the market. It felt very boisterous. It was a great time."

When asked what was the most poignant part of the day's celebrations, Fiolka said that a speech by a local youth as well as the flag-raising.

"Throughout the solidarity walks, we love to highlight the most marginalized folks in our community and put them at the front of the walk so that they have our whole community walking behind them and backing them up," Fiolka said. "As we walked to the flagpole where one of our youth advisory members - Colton - had a speech about their experience being queer in Airdrie and then raised the flag with all of us supporting them."

However, she noted that there were also plenty of more jovial moments, including the ever-popular dog fashion show. She also added that the new and improved Pride pathway wasn't finished in time for the festival, but will be finished this summer.

"The city just put down a fresh layer of asphalt which was needed to put in the permanent pathway," Fiolka explained. "It's all lined up to happen either in June or July; it's for sure going to happen this year and it should be permanent for up to 25 years after that."

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