Monday, June 8, 2015

Rainbows On Whyte

This year, for its 35 year anniversary, the Edmonton Pride Parade and Festival moved from downtown to Old Strathcona. Because this is marginally less convenient to me, personally, I was initially upset by this change in venues, but it makes a lot of sense. Churchill Square was already getting too small to hold all the attendees and vendors, the grass at Strathcona Park is a lot nicer on a hot day than the downtown concrete, and the new LRT construction is going to take the area around City Hall out of play for a couple of years beginning in 2016, so getting ahead of this change is more than reasonable, it is laudable.


Still, parking round Old Strathcona is a chore, and our timetable didn't make Edmonton Transit a viable option, so there was some concern about having to park miles away, then march in the parade, and THEN trudge all the way back past the marshalling area to retrieve our vehicle.


Then I remembered the High Level Streetcar.

This vintage trolley runs from north of the river to within 4 blocks of Tipton Arena, where we were to meet, and two blocks from the festival, at the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market, so it was ideal to our needs. Plus, we found parking ridiculously close for only $2; a great find after the first lot wanted $24 for 4 hours or $35 for all day.


Considering it is the first year for this large a parade, we got assembled fairly quickly. Best of all, there was a food store across the street where I could purchase an ice-cold Caribbean lemonade prior to marching.

An amazing cross-section of humanity comes out for Pride; our church was beside a group of Lutherans and the UFCW local, and in front of the Edmonton Atheists and their Flying Spaghetti Monster, and everyone got on just fine. Some of the costumes you see, range from the provocative to just shy of assaulting the senses, but I didn't speak to anyone so much shocked as they were perhaps surprised and even, in some cases, delighted at the range of expression to be found on parade day.


This was also only the second time our whole family of four could march together, since Glory's next feis is not until next weekend, and Tara came out from Leduc to join us too, despite having tickets to the Women's World Cup Opening Ceremonies later that same day.

Decked out in our most colourful accessories, we had a great time marching with our rainbow umbrellas. I'm told that next year we may be working up a 'routine', but we will have to see; this year, smiling and twirling were sufficient. The breeze was not so strong as to jeopardize our umbrellas, but helped to keep us cool as we marched in the noonday sun; even more invigorating were the cheers from the crowd.

(This is also one of the few selfies not containing Justin Trudeau, based on most of the others I have seen since...)

After the parade, Glory was feeling the effects of the sunburn she had gotten the day before, but we had just enough time to grab some lunch from a food truck. In this instance, it was the sublime Duck Tots from Attilla the HUNgry: crispy tater tots topped with tender braised duck legs, lime sriracha sauce, hoisin aioli, and a combination of green onion, cilantro, and peanuts on top. Delicious!


On the way back home, I tried for a High Level selfie with Glory, out the window of the streetcar, and it mostly worked. A great day, over all.


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