• LGBT2Q+ Events in Kelowna and throughout the Okanagan

Kelowna to Host Biggest Pride Celebration Ever!

For Immediate Release
June 13, 2019

(Kelowna, BC) June marks the internationally recognized Pride Month – an inclusive celebration of the LGBTQ2+ community and an opportunity to consider the progress still to be made in the quest for equality. Kelowna will host its own celebrations predominantly over the course of June 15 – 22, 2019.

This year, the Kelowna Pride Society is planning its most substantial celebration ever in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The Kelowna Pride Festival is moving back to City Park which will allow for a longer Pride March and bigger festival area for our community partners and festival attendees.

Dustyn Baulkham, General Manager of the Kelowna Pride Society, hopes Kelowna will get behind the celebration:

“We encourage the entire community to join us in this celebration. A more inclusive Kelowna is a better Kelowna. This isn’t about ‘us versus them’, Pride is a chance to show that no matter your gender expression or sexual orientation, all are welcome here in this city. At its heart, Pride is inclusive, welcoming, open and a giant celebration! What’s not to love about that?”

The Stonewall riots was community action against police brutality toward the LGBTQ2+ community and is widely recognized as ignition of the modern LGBTQ2+ rights movement. The theme for Kelowna’s 2019 Pride celebrations is “Because of You.” Blake Edwards, Co-President of the Kelowna Pride Society, explains the reasoning behind the theme:

“As members of the LGBTQ2+ community, every right we enjoy today was fought for and we must not forget those who risked their lives for those rights. Without their sacrifice, we wouldn’t have most of the freedoms that we enjoy today. For the Kelowna Pride Society, ‘Because of You’ is a way to honour those that fought against police brutality, discrimination, harassment and repressive laws – whether that be Stonewall and Operation Soap or creating the Rainbow Coalition and fighting for the right to have Pride here in Kelowna.”

There are a host of activities, including official Kelowna Pride events and affiliate community partner events, family-friendly fun and 19+ parties, taking place during Pride. Allies are encouraged and welcome to attend all of the events. Some of the key dates are:

Kelowna’s Pride celebrations are presented by TD. You can view all of the official and affiliate Kelowna Pride events here.

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About the Kelowna Pride Society

The Kelowna Pride Society (KPS) is a non-profit organization committed to serving Kelowna’s LGBTQ2+ community. KPS creates events and offer programs to connect the community. The organization depends on volunteers, membership, sponsorship and patronage to thrive, and KPS is grateful for the support it is receiving from the community. KPS hosts the popular annual Kelowna Pride Festival (formerly the Okanagan Pride Festival) which draws visitors from throughout the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and the United States.  

The Kelowna Pride Society would like to respectfully acknowledge that they operate on the unceded, traditional territory of the Syilx-Okanagan people.

For more information, please contact:
Dustyn Baulkham, General Manager
Pronouns: he/his/him
Kelowna Pride Society
Email: dustyn@kelownapride.com
Phone: 250.826.7197
Website: KelownaPride.com

YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THESE GREAT LGBT2Q+ SUMMER EVENTS

Kelowna is known for its fantastic weather. They don’t call us Kelownafornia for nothing, you know! As we move ever closer to the official start of summer, we know those long, hot days are just around the corner.

Adding to the sizzle is a truly stunning list of upcoming LGBT2Q+ events in the city. No matter whether you’re a local or a visitor, keep the FOMO at bay and add the following events to your calendar today.

Kelowna Pride (June 15 – June 22)

2019 marks 50 years since Stonewall, so it is only fitting that the Kelowna Pride Society is planning their biggest celebration yet! This year, Kelowna Pride has moved the festivities to June to align Kelowna’s celebration with the internationally recognized Pride Month.

In addition to that, the Kelowna Pride Festival is also moving back to City Park (close to the bridge). This brings a couple of benefits – the Pride March will follow a longer route and the Pride Festival will be on a bigger site. Yay!

As you might imagine, there are lots of exciting events happening to mark Pride in Kelowna. Keep an eye on the Tourism Kelowna events calendar, and also Kelowna Pride’s Facebook page, to find out about official Kelowna Pride events and Pride-aligned affiliate events (such as the “Ru-Palverisers VS Ellen Degenerates” Roller Derby)!

I would also highly recommend the following Pride events (friendly hint; put these in your calendar right away):

I look forward to seeing you at Kelowna Pride!

The mx. (June 6)

The mx. is Kelowna’s only monthly LGBT2Q+ networking event. This is an opportunity to socialize, enjoy a beverage and light snacks, and maybe make some new friends along the way. Allies are also encouraged to attend.

June 6’s edition is being held at the KPMG LLP office at Suite 200 – 3200 Richter Street, Kelowna from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

There will also be two guest speakers at the June mx. Jenica Frisque is the Equity Facilitator at The University of British Columbia. Jenica will be sharing some meaningful words around “Inclusivity at Work.”

In addition to Jenica, Tor Broughton will be speaking. Tor is a trans-gender youth from our Okanagan community and he will be sharing his compelling and courageous transition journey entitled “It Takes a Village.”

The mx. is more than a fantastic networking event. It is also a fundraiser. 100% of the proceeds from the door go to the Etcetera Youth Group. Suggested donations are $10 or $5 for students (with valid student ID). Cash at the door is the preferred payment method (to limit fees), but all major credit cards and Interac Flash are accepted.

Last but not least, everyone who registers in advance will be entered into a draw. Rebellious Unicorns has donated one of the recently launched 2019 Pure Silver Equality Coins from the Canadian Mint. The coin “commemorates the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.”

A winner of the coin will be selected at the event. The coin retails for $49.95. Pre-register for June 6’s mx. (click “Buy Tickets”).

FruitCake: Brooke Lynn Hytes (July 4)

“Never fear, the queen of the North is here.”

Brooke Lynn Hytes is a genuine drag superstar! The FIRST EVER Canadian Queen to appear on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Brooke Lynn was runner-up for this year’s crown as a contestant on Season 11.

A trained ballet dancer, this stunning Queen knows how to put on a mesmerizing show and on July 4 she’s performing in Kelowna! This is a one-night-only show, so you really don’t want to miss it. The FOMO will be real!

Brooke Lynn will be performing at FruitCake: BLH (AKA FruitCake: Queen of the North). The show is happening at Sapphire where Brooke Lynn will werk the room with several very talented local queens – Sparkle, Freida Whales, Ella Lamoureux, Jenna Telz, Alexa Nerezza, Ginger Snapp, Sasha Zamolodchikova, and Sophonda Dick.

With so much talent, the tickets are very reasonably priced (starting at just $49)! However, they’re moving quickly (VIP Meet and Greet tickets have already completely sold out), so you’ll want to snap up yours asap.

A portion of each ticket will go to support the Kelowna Pride Society. Purchase tickets here. Please note: FruitCake is a 19+ event.

DIVA (June 29)

On June 29, there’s an all-ages “Drag Superstar Eleganza Extravaganza” happening at the Kelowna Community Theatre!

Guests are invited to watch a high-quality show featuring several Ru Paul Queens – Farrah Moan, Eureka O’Hara, Morgan McMichaels, Sonique, and Phi Phi O’Hara. The performance will also feature Kelowna’s Femme Fatale Burlesque troupe.

Each Queen will perform a minimum of two sets, with each set being between seven to 10 minutes in length. It is sure to be a great show! Tickets are currently on sale, including a VIP Meet/Greet, and start at $68.25. Purchase tickets.

Enjoy! Also, if you happen to see me at one of these events, please come on over and say hi. I’m always happy to chat.

First Ever Canadian ‘Drag Race’ Contestant to Visit Kelowna for One-Night-Only

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2019

(Kelowna, BC) Brooke Lynn Hytes made history on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race by becoming the first ever Canadian queen to compete for the title of “America’s next drag superstar.” On May 30th, we’ll find out if she’s earned the crown.

A trained ballet dancer, Brooke Lynn has wowed the judges and audiences throughout season 11 of ‘Drag Race.’ She’s also the first contestant in the show’s history to win three sewing challenges in a single season.

Now, this dynamic ‘Queen of the North’ has her sights set on Kelowna, as she will be performing in the city for one-night-only this summer. Kelowna-based event production company Rebellious Unicorns is co-presenting this special Brooke Lynn performance with the Kelowna Pride Society as part of their on-going FruitCake series – a monthly inclusive night club party.

Dustyn Baulkham is the Executive Producer of Rebellious Unicorns and he can’t wait to see Brooke Lynn hit the stage in Kelowna:

“Brooke Lynn is an inspiration, a history maker. The first ever Canadian to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race! We have a thriving drag scene, including some amazing local queens, in Kelowna and bringing stars such as Brooke Lynn to town helps raise the profile of the Kelowna scene and our performers. Of course, we’re all inspired by Brooke Lynn’s craft and the success she has earned – I know this is going to be another magical night!”

Brooke Lynn, who is also the 2014 holder of the “Miss Continental” crown and also earned the “Miss Canada Ultimate” title, will be performing at Sapphire (238 Leon Ave.) on July 4th doors open at 8PM for VIP Meet and Greet and 8:45pm for General Admission. She will be performing alongside local queens; Sparkle, Freida Whales, Ella Lamoureux, Jenna Telz, Alexa Nerezza, Ginger Snapp and Sasha Zamolodchikova. The Facebook event has all the latest details on this exciting performance.

Tickets for the show are now on sale and can be purchased on the Rebellious Unicorns website. Tickets are $49 for General Admission and $69 for a VIP Meet and Greet (photo opportunity with Brooke Lynn). Tickets are subject to GST and a ticketing fee.

Please note this is a 19+ event.

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https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1er6x5Pbi2p5pBH9v81pPgIAKSvzX213s?usp=sharing

About Rebellious Unicorns

Rebellious Unicorns is a Kelowna-based event production company, dedicated to leading positive change in the Okanagan and curating inclusive events and experiences that bring people together. Led by Executive Producer, Dustyn Baulkham, Rebellious Unicorns produces FruitCake, MX, Peak Pride, Dirty Mutter & Cub Crawl.

Rebellious Unicorns would like to respectfully acknowledge that they operate on the unceded, traditional territory of the Okanagan (Syilx) people.

For more information, please contact:

Dustyn Baulkham, Executive Producer
Pronouns: he/his/him
Rebellious Unicorns Production Company Inc.
Email: dustyn @ rebelliousunicorns.com
Phone: 250.826.7197
Website: RebelliousUnicorns.com

LOYAL TO DIVERSITY… A CITY COUNCILLOR’S TAKE ON WHAT MAKES KELOWNA AWESOME

Loyal Wooldridge is a successful entrepreneur – operating Loyal Hair, a full-service luxury hair salon since 2006 – and in fall 2018, he was elected to Kelowna City Council. Loyal was the only newcomer elected, as all of the other councillors that were voted in were incumbents.

So, how does a business owner and recently-elected politician capitalize on all Kelowna has to offer? Luckily for us, Loyal is here to share his thoughts on what makes Kelowna awesome!

Loyal’s love affair with Kelowna started in 1993. That’s when Loyal and his RCMP family moved here from the Kootenays. Kelowna’s perfect balance of big-city amenities and small-town community feel is what kept him here, along with the plethora of activities available such as visiting winerieshikingliving the lake life, and the vibrant arts scene.

Loyal manages his business and civic responsibilities all the while balancing a healthy marriage and staying actively involved in the community. So, how does Loyal keep it real in business and politics around town? What does he get up to? Let’s find out…

Dustyn Baulkham: Kelowna has no shortage of outdoor and indoor activities. What is your favourite thing to do in Kelowna?

Loyal Wooldridge: “Anything that brings people together! I am a social creature so those activities are generally hiking, road biking, wine tours or cooking classes at Mission Hill Winery. It’s hard to choose only one! Summer is, without doubt, my favourite season in Kelowna, but one of the great things about living here in the Okanagan is that it’s a true four-season playground.”

DB: What is your favourite annual event in Kelowna?

LW: “Kelowna Pride – it is a celebration of inclusion and diversity. The organizers do a great job of offering varying events inclusive of all ages and accessible at varying price points.”

DB: If someone asked you for a restaurant recommendation, what immediately comes to mind?

LW: “Gather Restaurant – this new Korean Italian fusion restaurant is located in the Innovation Centre and offers beautifully curated wines, ciders, and even a spirit tasting bar. Everything on the menu is delicious (I’ve tried everything) so I can’t choose a favourite! They even offer freshly baked desserts, which are always tempting.”

DB: Based on population size, I feel like Kelowna could set a record for the number of wineries, cideries, distilleries, and craft breweries. Which one is your favourite location for an adult beverage?

LW: “Sandhill Winesis my favourite winery located in the north end of Kelowna. They offer many amazing wines in a gorgeous space that is out of this world. They also put on weekly jazz and tapas evenings in peak season and often feature long table dinners with local chefs. Sandhill is a gorgeous facility with something for everyone.”

DB: Newly elected to city council and an active part of the community, we want to get your take on an important part of Kelowna’s culture, the LGBTQ2+ scene. What do you think about the LGBT2Q+ community in Kelowna?

LW: “The LGBT2Q+ community is ever evolving and enhancing for the better! Since coming out in 2002 I have seen our community grow and embrace our differences and emerge to where we are today. There is always room for more diversity but I’ve seen Kelowna go from bi-monthly dances to a vibrant environment with festivals, shows, and events all year. My favourite part is that everyone is welcome to partake in LGBT2Q+ events and there is truly something for everyone.”

DB: And finally, for visitors to Kelowna, how would you recommend they make the most of their trip?

LW: “Choose to do something that you have never experienced before. Step outside your comfort zone and find something authentically local to bring back as a memory of your visit. There’s no shortage of awesome stuff to do and experience in Kelowna, and if you see me around town, be sure to say hi!”

For some fab photos and an inside look into Loyal’s life, be sure to check out Loyal’s Insta accounts, @LoyalKelowna and @LoyalHair. You can find the Loyal Hair website by visiting LoyalHair.com.

‘Peak Pride’ Takes Over Big White This Weekend!

For Immediate Release
April 2, 2019

(Kelowna, BC) The third annual Peak Pride at Big White Ski Resort takes place this weekend – April 5th to 7th – with plenty of food, drink, colour, and drag queens to go around.

Presented by Rebellious Unicorns, Peak Pride welcomes the LGBT2Q+ community and allies to join a series of fundraisers and events during this inclusive celebration.

“Peak Pride is an opportunity for the community to come together, celebrate pride and make lasting memories against the backdrop of beautiful, snow-covered mountains,” explains Dustyn Baulkham, Executive Producer of Rebellious Unicorns. “With some truly wonderful entertainment and and an array of inclusive spaces and great venues at Big White, this is a weekend you don’t want to miss!”

This year’s events include a special edition welcome reception of the mx and Gayme’s Night on Friday night with admission donations supporting Etcetera Youth Kelowna.

Saturday’s festivities will kick off with the Mountain Pride Parade with reams of colourful costumes and flags making their way down the mountain slopes and through the village. Skiers and snowboarders will meet at the bottom of the Bullet Lift at 2:00 p.m and head down Sun Run at 2:30 p.m. The Mountain Pride Parade will stop by the Firehall where they will be joined by folks on foot as everyone continues into the village.

Saturday afternoon invites attendees to join the Ales & Apres Mountain Beer Fest and The Peaks Culinary Walk. Snowshoe Sam’s is the place to be after 9:00 p.m. as wipeOUT gets underway with the help of Kelowna’s own drag stars, Freida Whales, Sparkle, Alexa Nerezza, and Ella Lamoureux. The party’s headliner is world-renowned DJ Drew G. Hailing from San Diego, DJ Drew G. has produced official remixes for the likes of  Madonna, Beyoncé, Blondie, Ed Sheeran, and RuPaul.

The final event of the weekend brings festival goers together for the Fab Farewell Brunch on Sunday at the Blarney Stone Irish Tavern.

“This weekend is going to be a blast for our entire community, including allies. That support really creates an inclusive environment and helps the LGBT2Q+ community feel welcome in a broader sense,” says Baulkham. “We also have events at all price points, including by donation, so there is an opportunity for people to check out the festivities and celebrate while giving back to Etcetera Youth Kelowna.”

Select tickets for Peak Pride at Big White are still available and can be purchased online at peakpride.ca/bigwhite2019. Tickets for wipeOUT are $25 while Saturday Full Passes are available until Tuesday at midnight and include access to Ales & Apres Mountain Beer Fest, Peaks Culinary Walk and wipeOUT for $149. Please note; Peak Pride ticketed events are 19+.

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About Rebellious Unicorns

Rebellious Unicorns is a Kelowna-based event production company, dedicated to leading positive change in the Okanagan and curating inclusive events and experiences that bring people together. Led by Executive Producer, Dustyn Baulkham, Rebellious Unicorns produces FruitCake, MX, Peak Pride, Dirty Mutter & Cub Crawl.

Rebellious Unicorns would like to respectfully acknowledge that they operate on the unceded, traditional territory of the Okanagan (Syilx) people.

For more information, please contact:
Dustyn Baulkham, Executive Producer
Pronouns: he/his/him
Rebellious Unicorns Production Company Inc.
Email: dustyn @ rebelliousunicorns.com
Phone: 250.826.7197
Website: https://peakpride.ca