Muskoka Pride has announced that July 17-25 is the 2021 Muskoka Pride Week. The annual week of activities celebrates the Muskoka lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community.
This year’s Pride celebration is much like the 2020 version, and very different than previous years, explains Merv Taylor-Morin, president of Muskoka Pride. “Due to covid-19 we are still not able to hold our signature events such as the parade and picnic. Instead we have been working on a series of virtual and in-person events that celebrate Pride while ensuring social distancing. Pride cannot be cancelled – it is inside all of us – Pride can only be reimagined.”
Muskoka Pride board member Shawn Forth explains, “Many larger Pride festivals across North America have been able to hold all of their events online. In Muskoka, where internet can be intermittent, we did not want to rely solely on virtual events. Taking advantage of Muskoka’s wide-open spaces and natural beauty, we are also holding some in-person events that are safely socially-distanced.”
Muskoka Pride Week will feature several virtual events
The annual Pride church service at Bala and Port Carling United Church is being held Sunday, July 19 through Zoom and YouTube. That evening will feature a virtual screening of the short film “Christian in the Closet” and discussion via Zoom.
On Friday, July 23, littlewoodsmith and Timberbeast Productions presents a virtual workshop performance of Angels in America. Featuring eight actors from Muskoka and Toronto, Angels in America is a brilliant, and necessary exploration of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s. Playwright Tony Kushner’s contemporary masterpiece explores hope and redemption at a time of crippling fear through a fantastical exhumation and celebration of the human spirit. Registration in advance is required, and is available on the Muskoka Pride website.
All municipalities in Muskoka will be raising the Rainbow Pride flag on Monday, July 19. This year all flag raisings will be live-streamed to the Muskoka Pride Facebook page. Members of the public may attend, but must ensure social distancing, respect gathering limits, and are asked to wear face masks.
Physically distanced in-person events
Tuesday, July 20 is Pride Night at the Muskoka Drive-In. Featuring two short films from the Muskoka Queer Film Festival (MQFF) and the feature film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Tickets are available via the Muskoka Pride website or pay cash at the gate. This is a fundraiser for the 2022 MQFF.
The annual mini-golf tournament at Northern Escapades in Bracebridge on Thursday, July 22 at a special Muskoka Pride rate from 2-8 p.m.
Two drag shows are planned – a driveway drag show at a private residence in Bracebridge on Wednesday, July 21, and a performance in Memorial Park on Saturday July 24. Both shows will feature local performers from the Muskoka Drag Royalty. Anyone attending will need to follow posted rules, including physical distancing, wearing face masks, and completing a wellness screening when they arrive.
Rainbow road tour and boat parade
Even though the annual Muskoka Pride Parade and Picnic have had to be cancelled this year, there are still opportunities for community members to safely gather with rainbow-decorated vehicles.
On Saturday, July 17, cottagers on Six Mile Lake (in Georgian Bay Township) are holding their second annual boat Pride Parade. Starting at 1:00 p.m. at Six Mile Lake Provincial Park, the boat parade will go around much of the lake. Everyone is welcome – decorate your boat and join in. Public launch available at the provincial park.
The second annual Muskoka Rainbow Road Tour is happening on Sunday, July 25. It starts in Gravenhurst at 1 p.m. and goes through Central Muskoka. Muskoka Pride has partnered with Away We Go Trips to create a special road trip that will be available on participants’ smart phones.
Everyone, no matter how you identify, is welcome to attend Muskoka Pride events.
To see a full schedule of events go to muskokapride.com or click “Events” on the Muskoka Pride Facebook Page.
Muskoka Pride receives funding from the Government of Canada through the Local Festivals – Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage grant and the Canadian Experiences Fund through FedNor. We would like to thank our 2021 Sponsors: TD Bank, McMasters Muskoka Fine Foods, Sawdust City Brewery, Lake of Bays Brewery, and the OSMH LGBTQ Committee.
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