NORTH PERTH – A more robust Pride is coming to North Perth this year.
Hollie Chavarria, co-owner of Birdie’s Holy Guacamole and one of the four who started the event last year, said that they are really excited for the multiple events to come, as opposed to the singular event last year. While it isn’t a full parade, like in other cities, it’s “all in the fullness of time,” she says.
Chavarria says that Pride in North Perth all started when herself, her wife Birdie, Gebadia Haverkamp, and Adrian Proszowski started speaking about a sense of interest in the area. Because of restrictions due to the pandemic, Chavarria said that it made sense to hold Pride – which took the form of a drag show – on Haverkamp’s farm property. This year, both Haverkamp and Proszowski have relocated to Toronto, but Chavarria says that Pride still has their full support. They’ve had to change locations to the Kin Station, but the location isn’t the only change. After a fundraising event last year which raised just under $10,000, they can afford to host three events. Pride is slated for several dates in June, including:
A comedy night, June 8
A drag bingo, June 17
A family-friendly event in the afternoon and drag show in the evening, June 18.
All of the events take place at the Kin Station. Tickets will be available to purchase soon, though the family-friendly event is free and for all ages.
She says that the municipality has been supportive – last year they voted unanimously to support Pride – but noted that they are writing an additional letter this year to see what that support means. They are hoping to fly a flag and paint a rainbow crosswalk, among other things.
“We kind of asked for the world,” she says.
She says that they are always looking for people to get involved. “If people have an interest or they have a skill that they think that we could benefit from, we’re open to it,” she explained. “We’ve been just kind of making our way through it. I’m not a web designer, but I put something together for the website and that’s good enough. But if somebody wants to come and take that off my plate and make it amazing, please do. And same with Instagram, too. It was easy to keep up with it while it was a hot topic, but then kind of fell by the wayside, because it wasn’t something that we were gearing up… But if somebody wants to help and do Instagram, that would be amazing. I’m sure on the day of the event, we’ll probably need help with decorating… I’m open to anything.”
She’s also open to more than just events for Pride. With more fundraising, she hopes to make North Perth a more inclusive environment.
“Whether that’s partnering with the library about having different educational books for kids and adults or doing sessions. I’m not really sure what that looks like, but I think that it would be worthwhile to work with members of the community and see what it is that they feel that we have a need for.”
In addition, Chavarria says she is reaching out the Gay Straight Alliance of the local high school to find out what the youth of the area would like to see.
Ultimately, she says that she and the other organizers were overjoyed with the response last year and excited for the expansion this year.
Connor Luczka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner