Surrey Pride founder and president Martin Rooney poses with the flag that has been used at pride celebrations in the city for 20 years. (File photo: Amy Reid)

In ‘landmark move,’ Surrey Pride party goes online for the event’s 21st anniversary

‘We have the ‘honour’ of being the first large city to put on a virtual Pride Festival’

Surrey Pride will be an online-only celebration this year.

The Pride Party 2020 virtual event will be broadcast on the organization’s Facebook page on Saturday, June 27, starting at 3 p.m.

“The concept is to create the atmosphere of the Pride Festival – entertainers, artwork, fun, live, lip-synch – and put it into a two-hour live stream,” said Martin Rooney, president of Surrey Pride Society.

“Once the live feed is over there will be a permanent link so the festival will be available to view any time and as many times as one wants.”

Videos and photos were sought to create a virtual party worth watching, in what Rooney calls a B.C. first.

“Let’s work together and make this landmark move a huge success,” he posted to the group’s Facebook page. “This is new to us – new to most of the Prides, and we have the ‘honour’ of being the first large city to put on a virtual Pride Festival.”

Details are posted to surreypride.ca.

Last year’s Surrey Pride attracted close to 3,000 attendees and 100 vendors to the Central City tower plaza, in celebration of the event’s 20th anniversary.

• RELATED STORY, from 2019: Surrey Pride celebrates 20 years with biggest party yet

(Story continues below video)

Rooney encourages advertisers, sponsors, online vendors and community non-profits to get involved in the virtual celebration, and welcomes inquires by email sent to president@surreypride.ca.

“Unlike in real time, booths cannot be visited as people just want to wander,” he said. “There is not the physical space to encourage attendees to go to 102nd Ave and visit all the booths – just not practical. So if you wish to have your business, organization or community group represented in a digital format, that is very possible.”

z Meantime, Surrey Civic Theatres is planning an Online Pride Movie Night on Friday, June 26, starting at 8 p.m.

This free online event will feature two movie shorts, Beauty and I Am Skylar, as well as the feature documentary Standing on the Line, all of which are produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

Beauty, written and directed by Christina Willings, is a 2017 film that “explores the lives of five gender-creative kids, each uniquely engaged in shaping their own sense of what it means to be fully human.”

I Am Skylar, written and directed by Rachel Bower, is “an emotionally compelling story of an articulate 14-year-old girl who is thoughtfully defining her future and the woman she is to become.”

Standing on the Line, written and directed by Paul Émile d’Entremont, tackles the stigma of being gay in sports.” Through a series of touching personal stories, this documentary explores the difficulty and impact of coming out in the sporting world in the context of both elite sports and among student athletes.”

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