More people, more floats, at this year's Charlottetown Pride parade

Hundreds of people lined the streets of downtown Charlottetown to watch as colourful floats and marchers took part in the annual Pride PEI parade.

"We've got a lot of things going on," Pride parade organizer says participation more than doubled

This year's Pride marshal Whatshername (right), alongside Demona Deville (left). (Nicole Williams/CBC)

More than double the number of groups participated in Charlottetown's Pride parade this year, according to Mitchell MacLean, director of communications for Pride PEI.

"There's been a huge amount of growth in terms of Pride week itself and outside of Pride week. We've got a lot of things going on," he said.

Mitchell MacLean with Pride PEI says about 160 groups were registered to participate in the parade this year, compared to only 60 groups last year. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

For the parade in Charlottetown, MacLean said they had about 160 groups register this year, compared to 60 last year. That's not including individuals who chose to march as well.

The Pride parade drew spectators of all ages to downtown Charlottetown. (Nicole Williams/CBC)
These drag queens protect themselves from the bright sunshine. Temperatures reached a high of 28 degrees on Saturday. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Shayne Stanger is one of hundreds of spectators who lined the streets in the city's downtown to watch the parade. Stanger noticed Pride celebrations have changed considerably over the years. 

"It's amazing to be able to see the youth of today being able to be free and accepted, and not have to hide anymore," Stanger said. 

Drag queen Amber Flames takes on the 2018 Charlottetown Pride Parade in a hat and jacket made of playing cards. (Nicole Williams/CBC)
A group of lawn mower riders makes its way around the corner of Great George and Grafton St. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

For Cally Kalistamevitier, walking in the parade is an opportunity to celebrate the community,

"Everyone forgets about us,"  Kalistamevitier said. "If you can make a loud statement full of colours, it's a great thing."

Members of the Epekwitk Abegweit First Nation smile and wave to the crowd as their float drives through the city's downtown. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Challenges remain for Pride PEI

Pride PEI recently expanded to Summerside, and held three Pride events there this week.

MacLean said the hope is to add permanent positions to help grow the organization's presence in Summerside, but added it's been a challenge finding venues and safe spaces for the Island's LGBT community.

These parade marchers took things to new heights on stilts. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"It's an important reminder as to why we're here today because this will continue to be a necessity until that conversation doesn't happen anymore." 

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