North Bay Pride is hoping that a returning sponsor will cause a ripple effect for other community members to support this year’s virtual event.
Gateway City Brewery has released the beer “Real Love” which will donate 50 cents of every can sold to North Bay Pride. Sully Sullivan, who works with the brewery, is excited to partner with North Bay Pride again.
“We recognize it takes work to become a safer space for all and that we cannot just throw up a sticker to say we are. We work with organizations to learn how to be inclusive to everyone no matter who you are. Therefore, it is so important to give back to North Bay Pride”
Media Coordinator for North Bay Pride, Jason Maclennan says that Gateway City Brewery’s partnership is a boost for the festival’s preparation.
“It is really a community effort and collaboration is one of the most important things for Pride with all these organizations,” Maclennan said.
This year was supposed to be the fourth North Bay Pride Festival. The COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the normal event which was slated to run this week. Organizers are now going to hold a virtual event in September.
Maclennan says that preparation for the virtual event has caused some headaches.
“It’s very different because we’re doing a Facebook Live over three days and we have to have camera crews, internet that’s capable, and then there’s the production side…It’s definitely a different task than our live event outdoors,” Maclennan explains.
The pandemic has also impacted some of the sponsors who would normally donate to Pride.
“It’s been a definite struggle this year. I think businesses are really scared because they don’t know what the future holds. I think the communities are scared because many of them have not gone back to work yet,” said Maclennan. “We’re very sympathetic towards [businesses] right now because we know they struggle.”
Maclennan is hopeful that Gateway City Brewery’s contribution will inspire other community members to chip in.
“It shows that we have to be creative and we need to be more creative and make sure that we’re putting the community first before ourselves and figure out how we can make it successful for everybody,” he said.
Maclennan also says the relationship between Pride and its sponsors goes both ways.
“We also become a resource for these different organizations and businesses in the community. We can direct people to, for example, safer spaces training…so that they get the training that they want and the community becomes more inclusive,” he explains.
North Bay Pride’s virtual event is scheduled to happen from September 18-20.