“We’re very excited to have a large-scale pride week happening again this year,” says Shawn Forth, Secretary and Promotions for Muskoka Pride.
This year’s festivities will include the return of the pride festival and parade through downtown Bracebridge. Both events have not been held since 2019.
“Words can’t express how happy I am we’re able to return to a more typical Muskoka Pride week,” says Forth. During the pandemic, the week-long event has gone forward but there were plenty of changes to how its run, including some events being removed from the schedule. Forth says they’ve “kept the lights on” with smaller events, but the return to the big event is what he’s glad to see.
For the return of the festival and parade, he expects around 1,000 will attend. “I think people have this built-up need to come together and celebrate after these two years,” says Forth.
The festival will take place at Memorial Park in Bracebridge with the parade seeing floats go up Manitoba St.
The 11 days worth of festivities will be kicked off at Canvas Brewery in Huntsville with “Disco Muskoka.” Forth says pride is partnering with the Huntsville Theatre Company to create “Muskoka’s largest disco floor.” The Muskoka Queer Film Festival After Dark will take place at the Bracebridge Hall, there will be three drag shows as well as drag trivia, and family events including a mini-golf tournament at Northern Escapades Mini Putt.
A run down of all the events taking place between July 15 and 24 is available on Muskoka Pride’s website.
An annual tradition for Muskoka Pride week is the flag raisings. Forth says all municipalities in Muskoka will raise the Pride Progress flag on Monday, July 19.
Forth says the festivities see people ranging from one year old to people as old as 80 taking part. “It’s very important in a small town to have this kind of event”