file photo Everyone is invited to a family oriented picnic Saturday, July 29 at Canoe Beach, featuring old-fashioned games, swimming and great music.

Picnic promotes pride

Everyone welcome to family oriented event at Canoe Beach

Men, women, children, people of every race, religion and sexual identity – these are the people who make up families, and everyone of them is invited to Pride Does Not Divide Family Picnic on Saturday.

Local DJ Patrick Ryley discovered some Grade 12 students and members of the Gender Sexuality Alliance wanted to have a local pride celebration.

“How embarrassing for Salmon Arm to be so behind,” says Ryley, who teamed up with the Family Resource Centre and went before council with a proposal for a family oriented picnic at Canoe Beach.

As this is an inaugural event, Ryley told councillors he would like to minimize speeches, politics and parades and focus on old-fashioned games, good music and, of course, good food, which picnickers can bring or buy from Top Jimmy’s Beach Café.

“Overall, we are looking for an event that brings together all walks of life,” he wrote in a letter to Mayor Nancy Cooper, noting everyone should be made welcome at the picnic. “Furthermore, the definition of family is continually evolving; it is best to leave the door open.”

Kindale, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Shuswap Children’s Association are among the groups that will attend the picnic.

Not only did city council approve Ryley’s request, several businesses who have hopped on board with their support.

“It’s very interesting how young people view sexuality…” he says. “Like any other issue out there, there is a spectrum of sexuality and you decide what it is you are. I am just me. I identify however I want.”

Ryley says comments from community have been wide-ranging, most of them positive and supportive.

But again, he emphasizes the picnic is about families and communities getting together to have fun in an atmosphere of welcome for all.

The free Pride Family Picnic takes place at Canoe Beach from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and will feature sack races, zumba, hatha yoga, old-fashioned games and, of course, swimming. Along with food for purchase, Top Jimmy’s Beach Café has water toys for rent.

The picnic will be followed by a Pride Dance in support of the SAFE Society and the Family Resource Centre from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Canoe Victory Hall.

Advance tickets at $20 are available at Prisa Lighting or are $25 at the door.