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WinterPride more inclusive than ever

Lesbian programming and marketing expanded for biggest WinterPride festival ever

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What: WinterPride

When: Feb. 3-10

Where: Whistler Village

By Nicole Fitzgerald

Spokesperson Dean Nelson expects this year’s WinterPride, Feb. 3 to 10, in Whistler to be bigger than ever.

“We had a lot of encouragement from both the Whistler community and the queer community at large,” he said. “We have promoted WinterPride at various gay events in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. We have secured more than 26.6 million marketing impressions for this festival, making it one of the most marketed gay winter festivals in North America. What is very exciting this year is we have worked even more with the women’s community and anticipate seeing growth with this market.”

This year, women will have experiences entirely their own with parties such as the evening out with Curve magazine columnists Lipstick and Dipstick at Solarice Spa and Wellness Centre; concerts such as Women’s Night of Music with Melissa Ferrick, who won Album of the Year from the Gay and Lesbian American Music Association; and guided ski tours with celebrities such as three-time X-Games gold medalist Missy “the Missile” Giove.

WinterPride focuses on four winter festival elements: sports, culinary arts, health and wellness, and entertainment, and there is as much happening on the mountain as off-mountain.

Festival highlights include the WinterPride Banquet, which raises funds for Camp Moomba, a camp for kids living with or affected by HIV/Aids. The two signature parties of the week are the Mountain Top Party with beats from John Millier of New York and The Snowball Dance, a dance ‘til dawn rave, with DJ David Knapp spinning to a crowd of 2,000 plus dancers.

Comedy Night is always a local favourite. This year Debra DiGiovanni headlines WinterPride’s Queerly Canadian show on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. at the Telus Conference Centre. Straight and queer alike will be laughing   to the Last Comic Standing top-10 finalist who was recently voted Canada’s Best Female Comedian at the 2007 Canadian Comedy Awards.

The focus of the festival is to create experiences that can be enjoyed by everyone.

“The festival is about celebrating behind human,” Nelson said. “It is a celebration of diversity and inclusiveness and to celebrate in a warm, welcoming and safe environment that every person can be themselves.”

For more information, visit www.gaywhistler.com.

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