Peak Pride returns to the mountain for a ‘super exciting’ weekend

The celebration of queer identity kicks off for four days at the end of March and features fun events from drag brunch to karaoke, a play and a parade.
A smiling youth holds a pride flag while wearing winter clothes. Snow is falling.
All ages and identities are welcome at Peak Pride. Photo by Karlee Friesen.

Mark your calendars because Peak Pride is back in Sun Peaks from Thursday, March 30 until Sunday, April 2, bringing representation of LGBTQ2S+ folks to ski communities.

Dustyn Baulkham is the executive producer of Rebellious Unicorns, which runs Peak Pride events throughout ski communities in B.C. He said organizers are excited to close out this year’s celebrations in Sun Peaks.

“Sun Peaks was actually the very last night we had before the pandemic in 2020, so it’s super exciting that we get to close out the first full year of not having restrictions up [here],” he told SPIN.

Baulkham said the events he’s looking forward to the most are the pride parade on Saturday at 2 p.m., the drag show dance party on Saturday night and the drag brunch on Sunday.

“I love when we have the parade down the mountain with all of the people and all of the colours. It’s a beautiful sight to see.” 

Baulkham also explained the parade is accessible for those who can’t afford a lift ticket for the mountain portion because celebrators march through the village and people can join there.

DJ Miss Bliss performs Saturday night after the Fruitcake Drag Show at the Grand Hotel and Conference Centre. Photo provided.

“[On the] wild fun side of things, our drag show dance party on Saturday night is always a hoot … On Sunday, the drag brunch is always a great way to cap the weekend,” Baulkham told SPIN.

Long-time supporters of the Peak Pride events and Rebellious Unicorn include Rob and Tania O’Toole, owners of Vertical Cafe. The event’s Saturday morning festivities will feature a coffee mixer at Vertical.

“I think it’s important that we’re continuing to showcase these events … I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to see the event grow and maybe see other [pride] events up here other than just on Peak Pride weekend,” Rob said.

Rob said he and Tania have always believed their shop should be a gathering space inclusive for all. Their daughter, Darby, helped create a rainbow crosswalk in Sun Peaks last summer.

Rob told SPIN the family’s support for Peak Pride goes back to the original event over four years ago. He added he’s excited to see the event back after its COVID-19 hiatus.

A poster with colourful mountains and a Peak Pride logo. There are skiers and snowboarders smiling and holding their arms up in the background. A Sun Peaks logo is at the top along with dates for the celebration.
Peak Pride returns after a hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions. Poster provided.

On Friday, March 31, Baulkham will be performing a play he wrote, Unicorns Reawakened, alongside Matthew Presidente and Toddy and Ella Lamoureaux, which centers on the experience of artists who struggled with the loss of their livelihood when the pandemic hit in 2020. 

Tickets are free and the event is all-ages, but Baulkham recommends those 16 and older attend because of some themes in the play.

The play has been performed throughout towns in B.C. and its performers have even faced backlash from protestors as recently as this month.

“Two individuals in Kelowna have made it their goal to come after any drag event that is all ages,” Baulkham told SPIN. “They seem to have this false perception that these are sex shows … it’s becoming frustrating and draining because we always have to talk about it.”

He went on to say that he contacted the RCMP and was told the treatment he and the venues received is not considered harassment.

Protests against drag performances have been increasingly reported in Canada, while in the U.S., the American Civil Liberties Union’s anti-LGBTQ bill tracking map says 428 bills targeting LGBTQ2S+ communities have been introduced. The bills target communities in sweeping ways and have been said to impede civil rights, free speech and expression, education, health care, and more.

In spite of these attacks, Baulkham said presenting queer content in smaller communities that don’t historically host these shows is important.

“We deal with protestors, unfortunately, who are very uneducated on what they’re actually protesting. But the work we do is really important because [LGBTQ2S+] people don’t always get the same support … Having these safe spaces for them to be themselves is really important.”

The full schedule of events is listed online on the Rebellious Unicorns website.

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