Pride in the mountains

All ages and identities are welcome at Peak Pride. Photo Karlee Friesen

Drag queens, brunch, cocktails and skiing will collide from March 1 to 3 during the first Peak Pride Festival at Sun Peaks.

The event, going into its third year at Big White, was created by Dustyn Baulkham, executive producer of Rebellious Unicorns.

“It started with comments from the LGBT community (about a lack of pride events),” Baulkham said. “If you don’t overtly say you’re an ally everyone assumes you’re not.”

With experience creating other events as Rebellious Unicorns and time spent with the Kelowna Pride Society, he has grown it to an annual weekend in Big White hosting more than 200 guests.

“I’ve always loved events and bringing like minded people together…we spoke with past attendees and they wanted to go to Sun Peaks.”

The weekend marks the first significant pride festivities in the community. Baulkham said he would like to grow the festival to many other mountains in the future.

On Friday night attendees will take part in what’s known as “Philanthropic Friday,” a cocktail mixer at the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel and comedy night at Morrissey’s Public House. Both events are by donation to Kamloops Pride.

The organization’s president Sam Numsen said they are grateful to be the recipient.

“Kamloops Pride is supportive of any event that encourages LGBTQ2S+ people to be their authentic selves—especially those that involve skis, slopes and Sun Peaks,” Numsen said. “It is thanks to donations and initiatives like this that allow us to do our work on behalf of LGBTQ2S+ folks in Kamloops. Marginalized people often struggle to find spaces to live truthfully, without fear of persecution or discrimination, and that’s why events like Peak Pride are important.”

On Saturday the Sunburst Lodge will host “The Tops Lunch,” a late brunch from 1 to 2 p.m. before a pride parade departs at 2:30 p.m., making its way to Bottoms Bar & Grill for “The Bottoms Aprés.”

That night the Sun Peaks Grand will host the “Taste of the Peaks” with five food stations paired with liquor tastings and live music before guests head to Masa’s Bar + Grill from 9 p.m. to late for music, dancing and drag queens.

Hangovers will be nursed and goodbyes said the next day at a brunch at Mantles from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Baulkham said the goal is to show the resort is open to all people regardless of gender or sexual orientation and be a presence for all LGBTQ2S+.

“Pride is really important, we’re standing with our brothers and sisters across the world who can be murdered or jailed just for who they love.”

He added it’s also important to provide venues where LGBTQ2S+ people can meet offline.

“It’s still really important for us to create safe spaces for LGBT people to gather.”

Whether you are a member of the community or an ally the event is open to all.