The fifth annual Pridefest kicked off Sunday morning with the raising of the flag at City Hall followed by a pride walk from City Hall to the Bushplane Museum.
Pridefest organizer Susan Rajamaki said this turnout has grown throughout the years.
“Today I think we probably had close to, I don’t know, maybe 100, 150 people at the flag raising, and then for the walk down here to the Bushplane to start Loud and Proud,” she said. “It feels phenomenal. I grew up in Sault Ste. Marie and I was a teen, and before that a youth in Sault Ste. Marie and knew very well at a young age who I was, and to have an event like this to show people that you can be successful and live in Sault Ste. Marie, and be in your community and be embraced by everybody just for who you are – it’s just a wonderful feeling.”
“I think (this) is great. I think it’s really inviting and nice, and was a great way to kick it off this year, said Xavier Worth, a first time Pridefest attendee.
Rajamaki said she thinks events like Pridefest are an important way to promote awareness and acceptance in the community.
“We need to be visible. We need to be that visible force and show people that we live in your community, we are a part of your community. And it’s quite evident with everybody that we have here today. We can no longer sit quiet. And it’s also further important by the fact that, you know, with Ford’s government pulling back on the sex education – we need to have that component within our sex education, so that youth understand who they are, where they belong, and not just coming from the queer perspective, but all around and understand that they can grow up to be healthy adults.”
Event goer Kesi-Jade Coleman said she thinks Pridefest is a good way to meet people who are accepting.
“I love it. It’s a great place to meet other youth who are LGBT and feel comfortable here,” she said. “Events like this are important because kids need to know that other people support them, and adults need to know that we have support, that it doesn’t matter who you are – everyone loves you.”
For a full list of this week’s events, visit the Facebook page here.