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Bovil Square covered in colour despite controversies

About 750 people gathered in Bovil Square bearing rainbow and other pride flags on Saturday for the United in Pride event. 

That was about 250 more on hand compared to last year’s celebrations, according to Smithers Pride Vice-President Perry Rath. 

“The [downtown] pride event was the biggest event we’ve ever had.” 

This year, about 260 people attended the drag afterparty on Saturday and/or the drag brunch on Sunday. 

At Bovil Square, numerous first responders and businesses attended with food, entertainment, and even activities like button making. 

Also at the event was a drag story time which stirred up controversy around the community leading up to Pride. 

Community members had voiced concerns about the event running during the May 9th and 23rd Smithers council meetings. 

With the concerns, was also an 800-signature petition to have the town cancel that part of the event. 

At both meetings, council said everyone should be allowed to use public space without discrimination. 

“Parents who want to take their children to the pride events simply can. Parents who don’t want to also have that choice,” said Mayor Gladys Atrill in a Facebook post. 

Rath said the publicity sparked by the petition helped to spread awareness of the event and contributed to the high attendance. 

“I’ve been contacted by people saying, ‘I wasn’t considering going to pride but after seeing what was going on, I want to go as an ally.’” 

He added because of the petition and what people had been saying, it opened up a conversation opportunity between the society and those organizing the petition. 

Pride celebrations continue in Smithers with a Pride Story Time at the Smithers Library on Saturday. 

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