Pride grows in Fort Erie.
As the city continues to prepare for its first Fort Erie Pride Festival next month, the organizers behind it gave residents a little taste of what to expect on June 25.
Called Sip, Shop and Drag, the Sunday event on Jarvis Street hosted vendors, drag performers and at least one couple who renewed their vows.
“Our goal is really community pride,” said drag performer Chantel Cartier, who hosted the event.
Organizer Noel Leboeuf said he was pleased with the turnout and thanked the vendors and volunteers who made it possible. Money raised from Saturday’s event will help fund June’s Pride Festival, which is a grassroots effort.
“We hope it will grow,” he said. Like so many other community events, the festival has been hampered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The inaugural festival was originally planned for 2020. Leboeuf said he has received tremendous support from the municipality and the community at large, but getting it started is an expensive undertaking, so any support helps.
Sunday, like the upcoming festival, was meant to be a welcoming, non-judgmental atmosphere. Leboeuf said Sunday was a chance for people who might be wondering who they are to come shop and have fun.
“It might help them see that it’s not that scary,” he said.
Deborah Fairlie, or Deacon Deb as she is known, is also on hand to perform vow renewals with a donation. By mid-afternoon, a couple had renewed their vows after 10 years of marriage, and Fairlie said it was a lovely, private time with the couple and loved ones.
The June 25 festival will include a car show, food court, vendors and a children’s area. There will also be a stage with music and drag performers. It will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 350 Bertie Street in Fort Erie. For more information, visit forteriepride.com.