SURREY — Plans are in the works to make Surrey Pride Society’s annual festival bigger, better and even more “out there” at Holland Park next summer.
A parade of some kind is among ideas being considered for the group’s 15th annual festival, set to happen on the first weekend of July 2014.
“I really want to see Surrey Pride become more out there, front and centre, a little bit more this year, with some of the stuff we’re looking at trying to do,” Mel Gill, the society’s new president, told the Now.
Gill replaces Jen Marchbank, who says she “had a great two years” as president of Surrey Pride Society.
“(Gill) is a long-time activist with several organizations in Surrey and has a great deal of experience running not-for-profit organizations,” Marchbank stated in a Sept. 20 memo. “Mel has been involved with Surrey Pride in various capacities since 2000 and will be leading the society in celebrating the 15th annual Pride Festival, a special occasion for this society.”
In addition to Gill, the society’s new board includes Gary Munroe, Shawn Ewing, Darshun Hall, Charmaine Friesen, Melanie Dolly Palmer, Travis Brownrigg and David Waterhouse.
The board will meet in the coming weeks and months to draft plans for next year’s festival, Gill said.
“It’s a banner year for us, and we’re looking at going in some different directions that we’ve never gone before,” he said. “I think by the end of this year, people will notice a big change with us, different than how we looked and acted before. It just takes a bit of time to do that.”
A parade has never been part of the society’s yearly festival in Surrey.
“There has certainly been some interest from people over the years to do that, and a parade does put the event into a whole new perspective,” Gill said.
“We’re looking to do something a little different with the entertainment next year, along with more events surrounding the festival, and that may or may not include a march or some kind of mini-parade. Those are the things we need to discover, like whether the City of Surrey is on board with us, along with funding from the right partners.… We want to put Surrey a bit more on the map in terms of Pride festivals and parades.”
Surrey Pride Society is online at surreypride.ca, also at www.facebook.com/SurreyPride.
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