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This article was published 6/12/2017 (851 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Backlash from LGBTTQ* community members has pushed Pride Winnipeg into reversing its decision to change the date of its annual festival.
Pride Winnipeg previously announced it would move the event from nine days starting May 25 to nine days starting July 20, in an effort to give the growing festival more space and accommodate more attendees.
However, community members raised concerns about the change, Jonathan Niemczak, president of Pride Winnipeg's board of directors, said when reached by phone Wednesday morning. One issue raised was the impact on high school students' ability to attend both the parade and the festival, he said.
"We apologize to those who were upset by the lack of community consultation," Niemczak wrote in a prepared statement Wednesday.
On social media, the community reaction to the date reversal was warm. "Victory to the community on this one!" read one comment.
In previous years, the Pride festival would run right before the start of the Winnipeg International Children's Festival, limiting how much space organizers could take up at The Forks for the two-day event that caps 10 days of local Pride celebration. Last year, the number of attendees reached about 5,000, organizers said.
Typically, KidsFest planners begin building on The Forks site while Pride Winnipeg is up and running.
Niemczak said the KidsFest typically takes up three-quarters of the available space onsite, with the Pride festival using the remainder.
Pride organizers will instead look for ways to expand the 2018 festival within the May-to-June time frame, he said.
Niemczak said any such expansion could mean working more closely with Winnipeg International Children's Festival organizers, in order to share the available space at The Forks. He said organizers may also be looking at expanding the festival beyond The Forks, pointing out the Cube in the Exchange District as a venue option.
Pride Winnipeg is mulling an open-house meeting in the spring to discuss its plans for expansion, said Niemczak, adding at previous town hall meetings, the LBGTTQ* community brought up the need for transparency from Pride Winnipeg organizers.
If no such plans are in the works, there will be no need for such a meeting, he said, adding the board of directors is developing an action plan based on issues the LGBTTQ* community raised about Pride Winnipeg, but nothing has been released yet.
In 2020, Pride Winnipeg will expand its festival to play host to the Fierté Canada Pride Festival. The national association of Canadian Pride event is scheduled for July – and so were the Winnipeg OutGames, an event that has since been cancelled.
Niemczak said local organizers may look at changing the date of the 2020 national celebration to coincide with the Pride Winnipeg events in late May/early June.