British Columbia

Vancouver Pride Parade hosts first outdoor dry dance

People who want to celebrate Pride Week sober will be able to do so in a drug and alcohol-free outdoor party called Untoxicated.

Parade goers in recovery can still party down at drug and alcohol-free celebration

Pride celebrations can trigger those recovering from addiction, says community leader Giuseppe Ganci. ((Belle Puri/CBC))

People who want to celebrate the Vancouver Pride Festival sober will be able to do so in a drug and alcohol-free outdoor party called Untoxicated

The event, hosted by a LGBT support group called Clean Sober and Proud, will be held in the Shopper's Drugmart parking lot on the corner of Davie and Thurlow Street on Sunday.

The dry party offers people in recovery an opportunity to have a good time at Pride week without the triggers inherent to beer gardens and other dances.

Alcohol and drugs are so prevalent in pride parades that one LGBT community leader said he used to consider it "a license to get drunk and stoned." Giuseppe Ganci is now clean and sober, and one of the organizers of Untoxicated. 

"My dream is that people who are young will see this and be like hey yeah I don't have to get drunk and stone to have fun today," he said. 

Clean Sober and Proud first participated in the Vancouver Pride parade in 2008 with a recovery float. In 2012 they hosted an alcohol-free dance for the first time in an indoor venue. This year, the festivities will feature an outdoor dry dance for the first time.

A partying tradition

Ganci is quick to say there is nothing wrong with partying and drinking during Pride week. But he points out that the LGBT community is known for its strong partying tradition.

"This is a population out there where there are a lot of people in recovery," he said.

"It's also great for harm reduction. If we can keep people clean and sober during pride, that's an awesome opportunity for the city," said Ganci.

Untoxicated will feature performances by world-renowned drag queen Alaska 5000 as well as more than ten local artists.

Tickets for Untoxicated can be purchased here.