Celebrate Your Awesome returning to in-person event

May 26, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Pride and Diversity Day in Dufferin County is back with the return of Celebrate Your Awesome’s in-person celebration in downtown Orangeville. 

From 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on June 18 the event will take over Mill Street and is free to attend.

Celebrate Your Awesome (CYA) has done a virtual event the past two years and CYA team member Wayne Townsend said excitement is growing for an in-person celebration.

“The wonderful part about being live again is the music and the bands. All the entertainment is local,” said Townsend. “I missed people being able to dance and enjoy it [in-person]. There is something about an outdoor event where there’s music that makes you feel freer.”

CYA’s Pride and Diversity Day, which began in 2018, is for all ages, backgrounds, religions and sexual orientations.

There will be a “Queerly Here” Art Market, in support of small businesses and local artisans selling a variety of items, including handcrafted goods and art pieces.

In addition to live bands, there will be dance groups, choirs, and drag shows during the event.

“Drag shows outside are so much more entertaining than being on stage because they have to be much more flexible,” said Townsend. “How do you work on pavements instead of the stage and stuff like that? It’s really neat.”

He noted CYA’s celebration will be a family friendly event, centred around acceptance, inclusivity, and creating a judgement free space, where people can feel comfortable to be their true selves and celebrate what makes them awesome.

There will be an educational component to the event as well.

“There’s a whole area where it’s community groups where they can share information about the services they offer and what’s available, especially to younger people,” said Townsend. “That’s always a great area for conversation.”

Dufferin Child and Family Services and their GLOW 2SLGBTQ+ Youth Group for ages 15 to 18 will have a booth setup at the event. Other organizations that will be there include Family Transition Place, Public Health, Choices Youth Shelter, Dufferin County Canadian Black Association, Services and Housing in the Province, Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle, Unifor Local 1385 (Chrysler), Georgian College, and Caregivers in the Hills.

For those wanting a bite to eat during CYA’s annual celebration, street vendors, food trucks, and licensed patios will fill Mill Street.

Townsend said one of his favourite parts about Pride and Diversity Day is reconnecting with old friends who have left Orangeville that he hasn’t seen in a few years.

“I find that the event brings back a lot of people to the community who used to live here, who are more diverse,” he noted. “Once they realized that their home was accepting and a very safe place, they love to come back.”

A fundraiser for CYA is being held at Rainbow Ridge Resort (203138 County Rd 109, East Garafraxa) June 11 from 7-9:30 p.m., starting with a drag show and ending with a dance.

The cost is $10 at the door and those who attend must be 19 or older.  

There will also be a “living library” at the Orangeville Public Library on Mill Street where a person from the diverse community comes in and shares their stories like an open book.

“People get to interview them, get to read them, find out about their life and their experiences,” Townsend noted. “That’s always an extremely emotional experience for the people who participate. The library does a really good job of it.”

Follow the Celebrate Your Awesome Facebook Page to stay tuned on that announcement.

Volunteers are needed for Pride and Diversity Day. Those interested can fill out a form at

Townsend said he’d encourage everyone to come out on the day of the event, especially if they’ve never been before.

“Come and celebrate the fact that we are great community, and diversity is interpreted in many ways here,” he noted. “That’s why we call it Celebrate Your Awesome instead of Pride, because we believe that everybody’s diverse.”

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