OUT Saskatoon hosted its annual block party and community fair just outside its Saskatoon headquarters Wednesday.
Welcome to the Gaybourhood is an annual event that serves up free burgers and entertainment, but for OUT Saskatoon executive director Rachel Loewen Walker, it's an event that also serves up visibility for her organization and the LGBT community at large.
"It's a huge form of visibility. When we started doing this event, it was when we first moved to this block," Loewen Walker said. "It was a way of introducing the community to our centre, to the fact that we are a LGBT centre."
Welcome to the Gaybourhood, described by OUT Saskatoon as a "family friendly, community-based" event, usually sees about 1,000 visitors at the block party each year.
Free STD testing
This time around, there's something new being offered at this year's event. The Saskatoon Health Region had its testing van parked on the block, offering free testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
The Health Bus was also on hand to deliver primary care during the block party.
Loewen Walker said the move makes sense, given that much of what OUT Saskatoon does focuses on the distribution of sexual health information to the public. In the past two years, the LGBT organization has seen the number of its drop-in clients rise by 70 per cent.
"That's a really great way of making sexual health information more accessible to the community, as we're really glad that they came and decided to be a part of the festival," said Loewen Walker.
Welcome to the Gaybourhood is just one of many events that are being rolled out in the city during the Saskatoon Pride Festival. A full rundown of events can be seen here.