Guide to Pride Month in Edmonton
Edmonton is known around the world as Festival City and each year June kicks off our summer Festival Season, bringing a diverse array of fun, entertainment, food, art, culture and celebrations.
With many festivals taking a break for the last 2 years, Edmonton is once again ready to host some amazing events for the summer, and it all begins with Pride! Pride is a celebration of people coming together in unity, love, and friendship to show how far 2SLGBTQ+ rights have come and to recognize the impact that this important segment of our community has had on society locally, nationally and internationally.
The community is going back to its roots - where Pride was celebrated by events put on by many of the local 2SLGBTQ+ groups of the day in a variety of venues – from the Flashback Club, once ranked in the top 10 nightclubs in North America by Billboard Magazine, to a baseball field, a community league hall and even Camp Harris – home of the 49th Battalion (Edmonton Regiment) formerly located in what is now the Lewis Estates community in West Edmonton – just North of the River Cree Resort & Casino.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of official Pride celebrations in Edmonton and to commemorate this milestone, almost 20 organizations, groups and local businesses are producing 40 events - some for families and many for the 18+ crowd, some free and others starting as low as $10.
We’re all born naked and the rest is drag
Around the globe, one mainstay element of Pride events is drag queens... and there will be lots of them this year! A culturally diverse, eclectic band of drag artists will put on stunning outfits and over-the-top makeup to perform some of the best lip sync performances anywhere. And it all starts at Edmonton’s premiere entertainment and dance venue – Evolution Wonderlounge (10220 – 103 Street NW).
From Canada’s Drag Race, let’s party with:
Every Sunday evening in June will also feature weekly shows by some of Edmonton’s best drag performers! For event information and ticket prices check out the Evolution Wonderlounge Facebook Page.
Need a bear hug?
If drag isn’t your scene, then maybe “Bears” are. The Fellowship of Alberta Bears (FAB) is a gay/queer/bi men’s registered not-for-profit society dedicated to providing a gathering space for individuals who appreciate and enjoy the brotherhood of the gay bear community. To kick-off Pride Month they are hosting an 18+ Pride dance - Bursting with Pride - at the Strathcona Community League (10139 - 87 Avenue NW) on June 3, open to members only with tickets at $20. Want to become a member? Go to albearta.org for more information.
On Sunday, June 5 they are hosting FAB’s 9th Annual Edmonton Pride Picnic in the Park at Victoria Park Picnic Pavilion #2 (12030 River Valley Road NW) – tickets for this all ages event are $15.
Party Fruit Loop Style!
Get into the party scene with these lively events all month long. Making its debut in the nightlife Queer scene 9 years ago, Fruit Loop has become known for their great party nights at pop-up venues around the city. After going virtual last year, they are back in-person once again. To kick the month off, they have partnered with The Grindstone Theatre (10019 81 Avenue NW) and are closing down 81 Avenue at 100 Street for a streetfest in a free, all ages, three-day event – Pride Reunited Presented by TD (June 3-5). Fruit Loop will host a series of live performances, community booths, workshops, food trucks, beer gardens and late-night dance parties!
Then on Saturday June 11, they head over to The Starlite Room. This historic location is a must see in Edmonton. First starting out as a Salvation Army Citadel in 1925, then the first home to Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre in 1965, it went on to become one of Edmonton’s best live entertainment venues featuring all genres of music in an endless schedule of local and touring bands and performers. When Fruit Loop takes over for Pride Recharged Presented by TD (June 11), watch for drink specials, special guests and more! Expect to see jaw dropping drag, aerial acts, pole and burlesque performances, all in support of their community partner, Rainbow Refuge. This is an 18+ event and tickets are only $10.
It's one, two, three strikes you're out
When it comes to sports, players who identify openly with the 2SLGBTQ+ community have traditionally been faced with barriers in being able to play professionally. This year, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers held their Pride Night game in March followed by the WHL Oil Kings who had their first Pride Day game in April. Then, on Saturday, June 11 the WCL’s Edmonton Riverhawks baseball team is holding their first Pride Night Game against the Port Angeles Lefties at Re/Max field (10233 96 Avenue NW). Tickets for the game are $20 for Adults and $10 for those under 18.
In collaboration with PrideTape.Com and their #StrikeOutHate initiative, look forward to some performances, dance-offs and anthems sung by the drag queens from Party Queens Edmonton. The game which will have many other pride activities such as a pride month acknowledgment, a pride photo backdrop where fans can take pictures with drag queens, kiss cams, pride interviews in between innings, videos on their new digital display about different pride groups, and pride-themed prizes and giveaways.
Drag me out to the Ballgame
There’s more on the roster for the baseball fan! On Saturday, June 18 starting at 1:00pm - Re/Max Field (10233 96 Avenue NW) will be the site of the first Drag Queen vs Drag Queen showdown in Edmonton baseball history. Baseball has been a part of Edmonton’s Pride celebrations since the very first year when the Edmonton gays faced off against the lesbians in a tournament with teams also coming from Red Deer and Calgary.
Edmonton’s longest running fundraising organization, The Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose, will take on Edmonton’s first professional drag booking agency, the Party Queens, in this all ages event. Just how many stiletto heels will get stuck in the new turf? Come find out and see who reigns supreme then stay for the 18+ after party on the patio.
Sing a Little Song
For a refined experience, join the Edmonton Vocal Minority Choir as they present their first live concert in two and a half years. Held at the Southminster-Steinhauer United Church (10740 19 Avenue NW) experience the joy of a live concert choir in Imagine (June 4) – hosted by Edmonton’s legendary Fringe Festival Drag Queen - Darrin Hagen. This is an all ages event and tickets are $15 by advance sales only.
If weekends aren’t your thing, then Thursday’s just might be. Each Thursday in June catch Party Queens #DragEveryThursday
at Evolution Wonderlounge. These rotating series of shows feature a variety of performers with a different host each week. Party Queens burst onto the scene a few years ago becoming a talent booking collective operated solely by the performers. They deliver fabulous performances, hosting, serving guests, playing/leading sickening party games, or working to create stunning social media content with you and your brand. Visit the Party Queens Website to learn more about private bookings!
You can also catch Party Queens in a series of all ages free Outdoor Park Shows throughout Edmonton all summer long. For their next Park Show, check the Party Queens Facebook Page as all shows are subject cancellation or relocation due to weather.
The Best Meal of the Day
A favourite event has always been the Mayor’s Pride Brunch. The University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS),
a non-profit which provides educational programs and services to support the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The 17th Annual Mayor’s Pride Brunch (June 12) is a fundraiser for iSMSS’ programs: Camp fYrefly, fYrefly in Schools, the CHEW Project, and Where the Rivers Meet. These programs all share the primary goal of supporting 2SLGBTQ+ youth so that they can grow into healthy, happy, and resilient adults.
Hosted by MKT Fresh Food and Beer Market (8101 Gateway Blvd NW), the brunch will include an appearance by Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, drag performances by the fun and fierce Melinda Verga, with MC’s MLA Janis Irwin and MLA Blake Desjarlais! This is an all ages event - tickets are $69.98 or $276.84 for a table of 4. Kids are just $22.23.
But wait there’s more Brunch!
TriGuys Entertainment Presents: Pride Drag Brunch and Tea Dance (June 5) at Central Social Hall Downtown (10909 Jasper Avenue NW). With two seatings - one at 11:00am and the second at 2:00pm. After the last seating they are going to have a good ol’ TriGuys Tea Dance with local Edmonton DJ talent to keep that mimosa buzz going and your feet movin’! This is an all ages event with elements that may be 18+. Tickets are $35 and can be bought in a variety of seating options. Check the Eventbrite Ticket Page for more details.
Get your last Saturday in June started right and load up on pancakes at the Pride Drag Brunch on Churchill Square, in the heart of Downtown. This event is Presented by Capital Pride Edmonton and will feature performances by Indigi-Hauz of Beaverhills – Edmonton’s Indigenous Drag performing group. Brunch tickets are just $10 but the entertainment is free to everyone. A portion of the proceeds will go to Shades Of Colour – an advocacy organization for queer and trans Black folks, Indigenous folks, and people of colour.
Additional brunches will be happening at Spotlight Cabaret (June 12) and Campio Brewing (June 26).
Over the Rainbow to Oz!
Join the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose
for their 34th Annual Gay Pageant, now an all ages drag show - at the Westmount Community League (10978 127 Street NW). This is a judged event where contestants will need to prepare a performance, formal wear and a separate theme wear outfit as they compete for the title of Mr/Ms/Mx Gay Edmonton 34!
The Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose is Edmonton’s longest running 2SLGBTQ+ organization whose mission is to raise funds for charitable and non-profit entities that support not only the Queer community but the greater Edmonton Community as well. Funds raised at this event will go towards the John M. Kerr Memorial Bursary Fund.
A PrideFest to Remember
Capping off a month of amazing events, the Edmonton PrideFest Association brings you Edmonton PrideFest at Churchill Square (June 24 & 25).
'Glitter and Grease' (June 24) stars the queen of Electro, Luciana. This will be an evening to remember with dancing, killer music, and much more! On June 25, Edmonton PrideFest @ Churchill Square brings live music (ahem, did someone say Virginia to Vegas!?), drag queens, DJs, and more as you tempt your taste buds at the food trucks and enormous beer garden. There will also be an 2SLGBTQ+ market including organizations providing support to the community. Hot off the press, the Edmonton Pidefest has announced Fefe Dobson will headline on June 25 - yes, you heard that right!
Stay tuned for more exciting programming as it's announced. One thing is for sure, you DO NOT want to miss this!
Rainbows over the AGA
Head to the Art Gallery of Alberta on June 18 for a full day of fun celebrating Pride and the LGBTQ2S+ community. Film screenings, art activities, drag performances and more are all on the itinerary. All galleries will be open, including the newly opened Comic Sans exhibition, which celebrates Canadian comic book artists. Make sure to check the current exhibition page to learn more.
But that's not all! On June 9, you can also catch screenings of "But I'm a Cheerleader" and "Moonlight.
More Pride Celebrations
- STUD: Vol 3 – PRIDE Edition
Presented by TriGuys Entertainment at The Foundry on Whyte - 10426 82 Avenue (June 3)
- Pride Virtual Movie Party
Featuring the film Wildwood Edmonton 2 Spirit Society - virtual event (June 7)
- Pride PARTAY!
SOHO Pub - 11454 Jasper Avenue (June 10)
- NextFest Pride Nite Club
The Roxy Theatre - 10708 124 Street (June 11)
About Ron Byers
Ron is a community leader, storyteller and Pride organizer. Decades of work in Edmonton’s non-profit sector have given him an extensive resume of community service as well as a unique viewpoint on our city and its history. With a professional background in Customer Service Management he has shared his skills in several City festivals and organizations. He has been actively involved in the 2SLGBTQ+ community for over 50 years.
Ron has seen our Queer community evolve from behind closed doors to dancing in the streets and watched and celebrated as we have grown closer to being treated as equal under the law yet acknowledge the in-equities we have yet to overcome.