A total of 143 plush looking floats will make their way through 20 city blocks of downtown Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood on Sunday afternoon for the 37th annual Vancouver Pride Parade.
Organizers expect nearly a thousand spirited marchers and dancers, in costumes that would make Blanche Devereaux blush.
As sidewalks will be packed with spectators, courtesy is vital for everyone’s enjoyment. More than half a million people are expected to attend the three hour event that begins at the intersection of Robson and Thurlow at noon and ends at Beach Avenue near Sunset Beach at 3 p.m.
With the input of parade veterans Alan Pronger and Tim Kraumanis, here are four important Pride Parade etiquettes and tips to know. Follow these and you’ll leave the parade with your pride intact!
1. When to come out
At any large parade, those hoping for a front row view should arrive one to two hours ahead of time. However, according to Pride Parade organizers, some people come as early as 7 a.m. to stake out their spot, with Denman Street being the most congested.
If you plan on plunking down your beach chair and returning later, remember that reserving isn’t deserving: someone present may move your belongings back a row.
2. Stay cool, but don’t be uncool
Considering the parade starts at noon on what will likely be a hot summer day, you’ll want to come prepared with water, sunscreen and snacks. Those bringing a beach umbrella are asked to stay back from the street so that they do not block the view for others.
In the past, attendees have cooled off with the help of water guns. Former Parade Director Tim Kraumanis strongly discourages this practice.
“If you do bring water guns to the parade, please only soak people who ask,” said Kraumanis. “Avoid marchers, media with sensitive equipment, children, animals and especially drag queens. Remember: a wet drag queen is a grumpy drag queen!”
3. Keep off the parade path
Another important rule of safety is to stay on the sidewalk. Those sitting on the curb should also remember to keep their feet tucked in as some floats take a while to stop and have limited visibility.
Stepping into or crossing the street could potentially slow down the parade or even cause an accident.
If you must cross the street, do so at an intersection where Pride volunteers will be helping people do so safely.
4. Be mindful of what swag you snag
Only accept freebies you plan to take home with you. When approached with something you’d likely feed to the garbage can, please politely refuse. If someone behind you is asking for a freebie, it is kind to collect it for them.
Both Alan and Tim agree: the fun on August 2 will be family and (leashed) pet friendly. Attendees should keep this in mind when choosing what to wear. Keep outfits appropriate and avoid nudity.
Click on the map for an enlarged version.
Vancity Buzz is a proud media partner of the 2015 Vancouver Pride Festival