Thousands Celebrate Diversity (GALLERY)

Crowds move along Ouellette Ave during the Windsor PrideFest Parade, August 13, 2017. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

The main event of Windsor’s PrideFest was a loud, cheerful highlight to a week celebrating diversity.

Thousands of people lined Ouellette Ave. Sunday morning, many wearing the rainbow colours, to watch the PrideFest Parade work its way toward Riverfront Festival Plaza. The parade is the highlight of PrideFest, which is a five-day celebration highlighting the contributions of Windsor-Essex’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities, along with other classifications of gender and orientation.

According to PrideFest president David Lenz on Wednesday, 47 units were due to participate in the colourful march, the most in the event’s 25-year history. Represented were marching bands, union locals, businesses, LGBT2Q friendly churches, and units specifically targeting sections of the LGBT2Q population.

One sizable unit represented Windsor’s transgendered community. Local transgendered activist Jayce Beaudin-Carver announced earlier in the week that a support centre was being set up for transgendered people and their supporters.

Supporters of the NDP and Liberal parties marched in the parade. Elected officials participating included MPs Brian Masse, Cheryl Hardcastle and Tracey Ramsey, as well as MPPs Lisa Gretzky, Percy Hatfield and Taras Natyshak.

Following the parade, marchers and spectators worked their way to Festival Plaza for Pride Day events, which included vendors, non-profits, food, an alcohol tent, and family-friendly music and live performances.

Other events taking place during Pride Week in Windsor were a bowling night at REVS Rose Bowl, lawn bowling at the Windsor Lawn Bowling Club in Jackson Park, an alcohol-free gathering at the PrideFest offices on Pelissier, and music events geared toward adults at the Rondo nightclub Friday, and Festival Plaza Saturday night.