‘I’m not alone’: first ever St Marys Pride event held for community

The first ever St. Marys Pride event at Milt Dunnell Park brought together residents from across Ontario on Sunday.

The one day event was hosted by Stratford-Perth Pride and featured different vendors and entertainment.

“We had some interest in the Facebook group this past year, and I thought we don’t have a Pride event. Why don’t we have a Pride event?” said event coordinator Robin Awcock.

“Pride belongs everywhere. It’s such an important piece as says there’s not much LGBTQ offerings in our community. So a day like today is so important for St. Marys,” said AJ Adams, the president and board chair of Stratford-Perth Pride.

Organizers hope the event starts a conversation about each person’s different needs and how to function as a community.

“We’re a small town. We just wanted to put our little Pride mark on the map,” said Awcock.

Libby Dufton, an attendee from St Marys, said Sunday was her first ever Pride event.

“Soak in as much of it as I can,” said Dufton. “There’s just so many other queer people here and I don’t have that in my normal social life.”

According to Dufton, she doesn’t really know many queer people in the area outside of her friend group, and was happy to see the different types of people at the event on Sunday.

“It’s like, Oh, I’m not alone. They exist,” said Dufton.

Dufton was wearing a homemade rainbow dress which she said was a sign of support from her mother who wants her to celebrate.

Libby Dufton (left) attending the first ever Pride event in St. Marys, Ont. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener) (June 12, 2022)

“I asked for a Pride flag for my birthday. She made me a dress, because she wanted me to show it off instead of it just hiding in my bedroom,” said Dufton.

Allan Slater, 86, said he felt it was important he attend the event as well, to show his support for the community.

Allan Slater attends the first ever Pride event in St. Marys, Ont. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener) (June 12, 2022)

Slater said the older generation in the area used to complain about Pride events, but they are starting to change their tune.

“We would have had a lot of pushback from the people that I met in Tim Hortons a few years ago, and now well, some of them are here today. So it’s slowly changing,” said Slater. “There are people in this town who still don’t support this. That’s one reason for being here.”

Organizers are hoping to make it an annual event, and are planning to make it bigger and better next year.

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