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Hundreds celebrate Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park

Local NewsHundreds celebrate Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park

Nearly 1000 people gathered in Brantford’s Mohawk Park to celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community with the 13th annual Brantford Pride event on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Mohawk Park was decorated in various Pride flags as guests roamed the area in colourful outfits mingling with family and friends while enjoying the celebration.

During the event, attendees engaged in plenty of activities including visiting the glitter bar, making buttons, creating DIY Pride flags, sitting in for a drag story time or joining the Brantford Library for a story walk.

Brantford Pride Committee members, Keith Recker, Ken Giesen, Jacqui Fendley and Rebecca Small, pose in front Pride themed wings during the 13th annual Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Noella Deville, Lucy Purr, Hexe Noir, Darcy Fever, Rubyyy Jones and Tia McGraff all took turns entertaining the crowd with various drag performances and musical numbers throughout the afternoon.

Lucy Purr performs to Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” during the 13th annual Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

With roughly 50 vendors and community service agencies spread out along the walkways of the park, many attendees stopped by to learn more about the numerous services, pick up free swag, make connections or purchase items from the artists on site.

“We have a little of everything here today,” said Jordyn McCormack, a Brantford Pride Committee member. “We have a lot of artists, social groups, neighbourhood organizations, school boards and Indigenous agencies and they’re just some of the really great resources we have here because we know that meeting face to face is quite helpful for people.”

One organization volunteer plays with bubbles during the 13th annual Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Willowbridge Community Services, the Brantford Public Library, Canadian Mental Health Association, Grand Erie Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Brant County Health Unit, Brantford Region Indigenous Support Centre, Queer Joy, Mazy Way Indigenous Designs, Bre’s Mindful Designs and Free Mom Hugs Canada were just a few of the booths on site.

Steph Scott, Connie Hill and Angela Curtis of the Grand Erie Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario pose for a photo during the 13th annual Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

At 2:00 p.m. people and their pets made their way around the park for a Pet Parade and shortly after, prizes were given out for the most prideful pet, smallest pet, biggest pet, most unique pet and best look-a-like.

Lucy Purr performs to Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” during the 13th annual Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

The event also featured a photo booth and a low-sensory area with a tent, shade, water, ice, sunglasses, blankets, ear plugs and colouring sheets for those with sensory sensitivities that needed a quiet break.

Attendees also enjoyed a pay-what-you-can barbeque with beef, chicken and vegetarian options.

Rubyyy Jones asks an attendee what Pride means to them during the 13th annual Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Rebecca Small, another Brantford Pride Committee Member, said the day was all about showing up as yourself.

“We are taking up space, showing everybody we’re here and being loud and proud,” she said. “Where some people don’t have the opportunity to come out and be themselves in their everyday life, this is the chance to join in and do your thing. Pride in the 70’s and 80’s was so different and very hidden, and while we still have a long way to go, it’s just amazing to see how far we’ve come.”

Two young guests show off their pride during the 13th annual Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Ken Giesen, Treasurer for the Brantford Pride Committee, added that Small’s comment is exactly why himself and other committee members are so dedicated to the event.

“That’s why we do this, right? Personally, I want to make sure that the youth have a space because we didn’t,” he said. “We didn’t have spaces to meet up and speak with other people and be ourselves and so we all want that for the youth today.”

Youngsters create their own Pride theme rocks during the 13th annual Brantford Pride at Mohawk Park on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

McCormack said that seeing the older generation and their passion for creating safe spaces was inspiring.

“I think it’s really important to see the older generation being so welcoming even though they didn’t have this same type of experience” she said. “They could easily take the stance of ‘well I didn’t have that, why should you?’ but it’s not like that at all. There’s still so many countries that you can’t do this and we’re so lucky that we’re in a spot where we can and I’m just so appreciative of my older mentors in the Pride Committee.”

Giesen said that he was grateful for the event sponsors as they couldn’t do it without them.

“Big shoutout to our sponsors, there’s just so many people who have contributed it’s hard to name them all but Brantford Apparel supplied all our shirts, and then the Brant County Community Foundation and the City of Brantford all gave us grants to hold this event as well as a few other local sponsors. We couldn’t do this without them and we’re so grateful for the support,” said Giesen.

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