Happy Pride Mission! The Fraser Valley Youth Society is hosting this years Fraser Valley Pride 2022 and the first time the festival is held in Mission, BC. To make things even better, this year is also Fraser Valley Pride's 10-year celebration and the excitement is definitely felt throughout the city! Make sure to check out the festival July 16th from 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Fraser River Heritage Park where there is an exciting lineup of entertainment throughout the day, featuring local 2SLGBTQIA+ talents and incredible drag performances from the Fraser Valley and Vancouver areas!
The team at Tourism Mission was lucky enough to chat with Fraser Valley Youth Society's Pierre Richez to give us the inside scoop on the Fraser Valley Pride Festival in Mission this year.
* Please note that Pierre Richez has kindly let us know that these these answers are of his knowledge and opinion and don’t necessarily represent FVYS or FV Pride.
1. Tell me a little about yourself and your involvement with Fraser Valley Youth Society! How long have you been involved with the Fraser Valley Youth Society, how did you get involved with the pride festival?
My Name is Pierre Richez, I use He/Him pronouns, I am a married to a terrific Man, he and I are dads to 3 amazing littles, I grew up in Mission and love the community. I have been involved with FVYS since 2015 starting as a Program Coordinator, and in 2016 I became the Executive Director, also Pride Chair. I have been organizing Fraser Valley Pride with the committee members for several years, this is likely my last year as I stepped down as ED in late May.
2. How has FV pride grown over the past 10 years?
We have been walking with our youth for many years. What started out as a walk around downtown Abbotsford and a BBQ in the parking lot of Abbotsford Community Services has become a week of Pride festivities in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Mission! We are so proud of how much Fraser Valley Pride has grown since our first official Pride event in 2013. We are expecting Fraser Valley Pride 2022 at Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission to be bigger and better than ever! We are excited to come together and celebrate diversity with our youth, their friends, families and community members. This has become our largest fundraiser and it wouldn’t be that without community support. So, thank you.
3. Where are your favourite places/safe spaces in Mission?
There is big discussion around delegating a business a “Safe Space” there is a commitment to acquiring that title and a lot of responsibility that follows, I think a better use of wording would be “Safer Space”
There are actually quite a few that I would consider “Safer Spaces” from my experiences, but here are a few examples.
Mission Youth Activity Centre where our Drop-in is located
HealthOne Physiotherapy and Hand Clinic
The Natural World Crystal and Gifts
4. What are you most looking forward to about hosting pride in Mission this year?
I would say the thing I am most excited about is being able to celebrate and create visibility for the youth and community we serve. Also it’s our 10 year anniversary!! That’s a huge deal for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community Happy Pride!!
5. Anything else you want to add?
I would like to add a thank you to all that have participated to make this event what it is, and a Very Special thank you to our Committee family who have poured their heart soul into this initiative. I love you all tons.
While you're enjoying the festival be sure to grab some tasty bites from the food trucks and unwind while savouring some sips in the beverage garden. Fraser Valley Pride will also have lots of vendors to visit like the Fraser Valley Queer Christmas Market, Starbucks Coffee Company, local businesses/organizations and of course Tourism Mission (that's us!). Be sure to come say hi, and if you're lucky you may even catch our Tourism Mission bear mascot wandering around the festival as well!
See you there!