A rainbow parade of epic pride proportions will open this year’s ArtsWells Festival.

“The Artswells Festival has been going since 2004 and every year we have kicked off the festival with a parade,” said Julie Fowler, executive and artistic director for Island Mountains Art and the Artswells Festival.

“This year we wanted to partner with our local organizations in Quesnel, Williams Lake, and Prince George to make sure that everyone feels welcome to participate in our parade, and of course the weekend of ArtsWells is traditionally the big pride event down in Vancouver so we thought let’s welcome everyone to celebrate pride.”

Fowler adds that they have always had strong support for LGBTQ artists, partners, and allies at Artswells.

“This year again we’re definitely pleased to bring artists like Ray Spoon who is a transgender artist/musician and crusader for gender parity, gender neutrality, and things like gender-neutral bathrooms; things that if you’re not transgender you might not even think about how those things can make everyday challenging.”

Everyone is invited to attend the parade that will take┬áplace on Friday, August 2 at 7 pm. Fowler recommends that people arrive earlier as children’s performer Al Simmons will be hosting a workshop to make your own musical instruments out of household items that might otherwise go into the trash or recycling bin during the day.

“Wells is not a big place so it’s a short parade,” Fowler said.

“We parade from historic Pooley Street around where the Wells Hotel and the Sunset Theatre is and we parade out to the outdoor stage which is over at the school and then the music starts kicking off all around town.”