Hundreds of people packed into Main Street in Moose Jaw on Saturday, basking in the warm sun and waving rainbow flags, for the first-ever Moose Jaw Pride Parade.
Joe Wickenhauser is the executive director of Moose Jaw Pride, the group that put on the event.
“Society is changing, things are opening up, people are feeling more comfortable coming out, and so, as people want to get involved, and as we do more of this work, we find that people are saying ‘hey I want to be a part of it,'” said Wickenhauser.
On Saturday morning, before the parade, he said he was “beyond excited”.
It was the ending to Moose Jaw’s pride week, starting at 2 p.m. and continuing with events in Crescent Park for the rest of the afternoon.
Wickenhauser said the response has been mostly positive, with people and businesses excited about the event, but he said there were a couple of negative replies.
“I think over time, as we continue to do these parades, people will see that we’re just people living our lives and celebrating, and we want people to join us and have a good time.”
He explained the route chosen for the first parade is a significant one.
“That’s the same route that a number of gay and lesbian human rights protestors took back in 1978, they were campaigning for human rights for gays and lesbians … That feels really, I think, incredible for us to walk in those shoes.”
An anti-gay crusader was visiting the city on her “Save the Children” tour, and the protest was in response to some of her controversial views.
Roger Carriere was one of those protestors, and was chosen as this parade’s grand marshal.
Last year, Moose Jaw Pride did a test run for a parade, with a march in Crescent Park. Wickenhauser said they were concerned there wouldn’t be enough people.
“When we realized that we did actually have the numbers, it was like well, there’s nothing stopping us, there’s nothing in our way, so let’s do this.”
Reports are that about 200 people showed for the event on Saturday.