2SLGBTQIA+ members, as well as Pridefest organizers and supporters gathered at Clergue Park on Saturday to take part in this year’s Fun Run.
Weather conditions were near perfect as participants had the option of walking or running a one-, three-, or six-kilometre trek along the boardwalk and Pavilion.
Attendees got warmed up prior to the event with Fun Run organizers Carolyn Caputo-McCauley and Luca McCauley, who were thrilled with this morning’s attendance.
“The turnout has been fabulous,” Caputo-McCauley says. “This is more than we’ve had in past years. The community is more aware and more supportive.”
“It’s really nice for the younger generations to know there is a community in Sault Ste. Marie, and that people have a safe space and a community they can talk to,” Luca McCauley says. “I’m really glad I’ve gotten to be a part of everything this year.”
Strong Minds CEO Amanda Lambert collaborated with the Pridefest committee to help make the run possible, and she’s incredibly appreciative of the partnership they’ve established together.
“It was an honour for Pridefest to reach out to Strong Minds and have us to help in any way we can,” she said. “It’s my first year being a part of the Pridefest Committee. It’s also our first run with Pridefest, and it’s been such an honour to be a part of this.”
Following the event, runners are hitting up Big Lake Cabin this afternoon for a Fun Run refresher.
While Pridefest’s ninth annual festivities of entertaining and educational events is nearing its end, committee coordinators Jeremy Nadon and Linsay Ambeault say it’s just the beginning of promising things to come.
“We’ve had more participants in every event this year than we’ve ever had before,” Nadon says. “We’ve had so many new allies come out to participate in the events. It means a lot.”
“It’s grown exponentially since the last one we had in 2019,” Ambeault says. “The committee itself is a diverse group of humans, and we all bring different perspectives to the table which reflects the community. The uptick in sponsorships has been amazing to see as well.”
To cap off this year’s Pridefest, organizers are hosting a drag show beginning at 9 p.m. this evening at the Elks of Canada on Bay St., and they will also be hosting a Rainbow Brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Water Tower Inn.