The Langley Pride committee includes (left to right) Sara Hudson, Sandra Polushin, Susan Higginbotham, Wendy Cook, James Long, and Stacey Wakelin as well as representatives of One TWU, the Langley Youth Hub/Encompass Society, Fraser Health, the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, Shepherd of the Valley Church, and community members. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Pride festival announced for Langley next August

Family-friendly festival aim is to promote equality and inclusion for LGBTQ2S+ community

Langley will be having its first pride festival next summer in what organizers hope will be the start of an annual event.

A group called Langley Pride has announced the festival for Aug. 8 at McLeod Athletic Park (MAP).

The group is made up of local residents and community organizations such as the Langley Youth Hub/Encompass Society, Inclusion Langley, One TWU, the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, educators, Shepherd of the Valley Church, local residents, and others.

“We really hope to see a lot of youth involved in this event and have them be involved in the planning,” said Langley Pride member Stacey Wakelin, who was an NDP candidate in the October federal election.

The event will be a family-friendly gathering to promote inclusion and equality for the LGBTQ2S+ community. There will be entertainment and opportunities for community groups to take part, but the full schedule and details have not been finalized, she said.

The organizers chose MAP as the venue.

“It’s important to us that both the Langleys feel this event is for them,” Wakelin said.

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The group would welcome sponsors to help cover event costs, and can be reached at langleypridefest@gmail.com or through the group’s social media feeds (@LangleyPride on Twitter, langleypride on Instagram, and LangleyPride on Facebook.

Along with the festival announcement, the new group also announced a $500 contribution from the Langley Teachers’ Association to support its work.

Wakelin is realistic about possibility of negative reaction from some people.

“I’m hopeful that we won’t, but you know Langley certainly has groups that one could define as anti-LGBTQ,” she said. “We’re working on just creating a really positive experience for this community.”

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The goal is to have an annual Pride event, and Wakelin said there could be more if the community is supportive, noting the group has talked of setting up a pride society to be a resource for the LGBTQ2S+ community throughout the year.

“We’re looking to see how this is received,” she said.

She’s attended pride events elsewhere, including the small event this past summer in Abbotsford.

“We’re definitely would like to make it our own,” she said of the Langley festival. “There are many great pride events so I’m sure we’ll get inspiration from them.”

So far, Langley’s pride activities have been flag raisings. In July 0f 2017, a group was formed for local seniors in the LGBTQ2S+ community and hosted its first pride flag raising summer 2019. Another local group, Friends of Dorothy, had held pride flag raising events in Langley in the past.

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