ERIN – “We have decided to take another shot at this,” Tracey Wallace said during an Oct. 12 delegation to council about a new Erin Pride committee and event.
Wallace described things as “very new” and “fluid,” but said the committee has booked McMillan Park for an Erin Pride event on June 22.
“We’re really gearing towards families,” she said, adding the event would give recognition to “certain demographics” in the community who haven’t been recognized in the past.
“Inclusivity is so important to me and my friends and to my community.”
Wallace attempted to get a Pride event going in 2020, only to have her efforts thwarted by the pandemic.
The event morphed into the “Erin Pride Procession” from 2020-21.
In June 2020, physically-distanced spectators cheered as a procession of rainbow-decorated vehicles drove through neighbourhoods in both Erin and Hillsburgh, the Advertiser previously reported.
In 2022, up against high costs and feeling a lack of support from the town, Wallace bowed out altogether.
In a phone call with the Advertiser, Wallace said there’s a palpable difference in the feeling coming from the town this year, following recent staff changes and a change in council.
Erin Pride committee member Laura Bannayan, who is from outside town and has experience with Toronto Pride, is contributing $5,000 toward the event as a cushion to cover administrative fees to put on the event.
Wallace said Bannayan is “the fire beneath this rainbow.”
A good portion of McMillan Park is planned to be dedicated to family-oriented games, arts, activities, and face and body painting next June, council was told.
The committee wants Pride flags installed downtown from June 1 to 23, and is seeking out 2SLGBTQIA+ entertainers and businesses, as well as mental health organizations that want to participate.
GoodLot Farmstead has expressed interest in sponsoring a beer garden, and the committee has reached out to Erin United Church about hosting alcohol sales in the church’s parking lot because the town doesn’t allow alcohol sales in the park.
Everdale Farms is also getting involved, which Wallace said has a “vested interest in Pride.”
Transgender people are “feeling very threatened,” Wallace told council, “so security is a big one for Pride.”
“I’m hoping that all of the families feel safe to come to all of the events.”
Council supported the event by designating it as municipally significant at Wallace’s request.
“It just kind of smooths the way for us if funding opportunities come up,” she explained.