by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
T.G.I.V.P.W. - Thank God It's Vancouver Pride Weekend! It's an opportunity to further frolic in another city - another country, for that matter. Vancouver, B.C., is three hours away by car, counting border stops, and four hours by train - Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) now offers two daily trains to Canada from Seattle. Here is what you need to know about this weekend's festivities.
The Vancouver Pride Parade takes place Sunday, July 31, beginning at noon. The route begins at Robson and Thurlow streets, travels west on Robson to Denman Street (which turns into Beach Avenue) and concludes at Beach and Jervis streets. There are three wheelchair-accessible areas to view the parade: Robson and Jervis, Denman and Nelson, and Jervis and Beach. Reserve a spot by contacting QMUNITY at (604) 684-8449. This year's grand marshals are Joan-E, Bill Siksay, Bob Tivey, and Pat Rocco. Along the route, the parade will be emceed by Joan-E, Drag King T, Symone, and Connie Smudge.
Immediately following the parade comes the Festival, held at Sunset Beach near the finish line. Free entertainment will be provided by the Black Parade Kings, Carol Jiani, DJ Jason Van, DJ Lisa DeLux, DJ She, Kim Kuzma, Matthew Presidente, QLUTCH Project, Sugarbeach, Symone, Troy Jackson, Clancy's Angels, Berend McKenzie, DJ Riot, Jeffrey Straker, Maor & T.R.I.G.G.A., Ryan G. Hinds, The Bobbers, and Tyrell Witherspoon. The event is hosted by Barb Snelgrove. Community booths, local businesses, and food vendors will be on-hand.
Pride weekend isn't complete without a listing of hot bashes running weeklong through Sunday night, even on Monday.
The splashiest event is Rapture: Heatwave, an outdoor pool party at the Westin Grand Vancouver Hotel (433 Robson Street), with scheduled appearances by Manila Luzon (RuPaul's Drag Race), Nick Bertossi (local DJ), Landon James (local DJ), and Cassandra (Toronto-based entertainer). Party time is noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. Tickets are priced between $22.40 and $33.60, benefitting Out in Schools, Friends for Life, and Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at Gay businesses Priape and Little Sisters Bookstore, both located on Davie Street, or by emailing info@TFDpresents.com. The Westin's oversized pool has room for plenty of near-naked bodies to play in the water. Health facilities, such as a dry and wet sauna, whirlpool, and fitness center, should also be available during the festivities. And the men's dressing room has a machine that will rinse and dry your swimming trunks (if you didn't lose them along the way). Visit www.westingrandvancouver.com for Pride and Heatwave package deals.
The Caya Davie Street Dance Party, featuring disco performer Carol Jiani, will be set up at Davie Village on Friday, July 29 from 7 p.m. to midnight. General admission is $10, but for $20 you get unlimited re-entry and 'jump the line' privileges at some bar counters.
Celebrities Nightclub (1022 Davie Street) has the biggest dance floor in town, and it celebrates Pride weekend starting on Friday, July 29 with the 'Celebrities Pride Ball,' followed by 'B You Saturdays' on July 30, and climaxes with Sunday night's 'Pride History VIII.' The Saturday lineup includes go-go boys, circus performers, two DJs (Zach Shore and Drew G.), and performances from House of Celebs Dance Group. For tickets and details, visit www.celebritiesnightclub.com.
Finally, Rapture: DOMINATE leather and military party is on Saturday, July 30 at the Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville Street). The bash starts at 9 p.m. with tickets priced at various levels and available at Priape, Little Sisters Bookstore, or www.TFDpresents.com. Uniforms strongly encouraged.
A full list of Pride weekend parties and events can be found at www.vancouverpride.ca.
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