History was made on the weekend as the city celebrated its first ever Chilliwack Pride event.
What organizers thought would be a small backyard barbecue exploded into a colourful, family-friendly party 700-people strong.
“Our expectations were far exceeded and it was mind blowing to see so many happy and loving faces today,” said Mallory Tomlinson, one of the organizers on Saturday.
The inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue was hosted by the Chilliwack Gender Support Network (a peer-lead transgender support group) and Chilliwack Pride on Saturday at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre.
Although Fraser Valley Pride has been hosting events for the past seven years, they’ve all taken place in Abbotsford and Mission.
People who attended the barbecue said it was amazing to see this much support for the LGBTQ+ community in Chilliwack.
“It was an awesome experience to see how many people showed up and supported inclusion in Chilliwack,” said one attendee.
“I can’t believe I can say my children attended a pride event in Chilliwack. I never thought the day would come,” said another.
“You know it was a wonderful event when your cheeks are actually sore from so much smiling,” wrote another.
Rainbow flags (representing the LGBTQ+ community) as well as other colourful ones like pink/blue/white-striped flags representing the transgender community were flying throughout the party that day.
The event included a free barbecue, drinks by donation, crafts, games, a drag queen show, and a sensory-calmed area for people, especially kids, with disabilities like autism and ADHD.