Pride week goes virtual, telling history of memorial drag game

As Victoria’s Pride week goes virtual, the Pride society is taking the opportunity to share some local history.

In place of the memorial drag ball game, one of the week’s most popular events, Victoria Pride Society will air a documentary it has produced about the game’s history.

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The 30-minute documentary, which will air July 1 at noon on the Victoria Pride Society’s YouTube channel, the same time the drag ball game would have taken place, tells the story of how a group of friends, many of whom were drag performers, started a tradition out of grief that is still going more than 25 years later.

“Basically, it was coming together as a community who were sort of reeling from all the community members lost to the AIDS epidemic,” said Scott Daly, communications co-ordinator for the society.

They wanted a day to forget about that reality, and to play a game.

“They have returned to that game every year since,” the Pride society says on its website.

“Over time, more people have joined, and the gathering founded on resilience has also become a celebration of community.”

The ball game normally features players dressed in drag and brings out up to 1,000 spectators each year.

The society is going ahead with several other online events, including modified versions of the Big Gay Dog Walk on July 3 and the Pride Festival on July 5.

Participants can send in photos of their dogs dressed in their best Pride attire and a short video of their pets showing off their best tricks to be entered into a costume and trick competition. Photos and videos submitted for the event will air on the society’s YouTube channel.

The Pride festival is also moving online. The society has asked previous performers to submit recorded performances for a digital festival to be aired on YouTube.

One casualty of the pandemic is the parade, which will not take place in any form this year.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

• For more more information, go to victoriapridesociety.org/events

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