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Youth
 
Eighteen Degrees and Showers, but Pride Prevailed
Ottawa Pride sings in the rain

IT was cold, it was windy, and dark clouds overhead poured rain, but the April-like weather didn't stop Ottawa-Hull's Community from having its Day.

A record sixty parade groups marched and drove floats from Lansdowne Park steadily north on Bank Street to Parliament Hill.

Soaking wet.

A few looked as if they'd rather be anywhere else - Pride or no Pride - and some kept dry by being lucky enough to be inside their float's vehicle.  But the overwhelming majority of parade participants made the event look like the filming of a gay millennial remake of Singing (and dancing!) in the Rain.

In fact, the cold and wet hardly made a dent in the size of the crowd which showed up.

"Seven thousand, seven hundred and fifty-six people stood in the pouring rain and watched our parade today," announced Sheryll Townsend of the Pride Committee.  "That's 500 less than last year, so despite the weather we had an excellent turnout."

Eric of Massachusetts agreed, saying it was well worth the drive from that New England state.

"Nobody was fazed by the weather," he said.  "Everybody was very enthusiastic and they didn't even act like it was raining.  The people with the water guns were going full force [and] everybody seemed to be enjoying it a lot."

Parade observers were the most concentrated along a three block stretch centered at Bank and Somerset Streets, where the dense crowd cheered the parade on.

Following the parade's passing the bars picked up - and a bit sooner than expected due to the continuing rain.  But the festival grounds at Regional Headquarters saw a healthy gathering with a 'Show Must Go On' attitude.

The show did go on, actually, and well into the evening as local talent took to the stage at the festival.  Musical acts Elaina & The Chain and performances from Miss Gay Pride 2000 Bella Straight and 1999 Dixie Landers were featured along with comedians, dancers and others.

The festival info fair with its 'line-up' of local community organizations' display tables was a popular spot, as it was sheltered from the rain under the walkway of Regional Headquarters.  A tent in the beer gardens area was a similar attraction and took to looking like an overcrowded bar very quickly.

But eventually the rain subsided and festival participants spread out to socialize and take in the stage show up close.