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‘It makes us even stronger’: How a threat led to food trucks pulling out of Pembina Valley Pride March and Rally


A Manitoba pride march and rally is serving up a message of love and acceptance after a food truck vendor set to take part in the event was threatened this week.

On Tuesday, Pembina Valley Pride posted on its Facebook page that it will not be having any food trucks at its Saturday celebration in Altona.

The organization had previously published a list of the three food trucks that were set to take part in it. According to Pembina Valley Pride president Pauline Emerson-Froebe, an unknown individual proceeded to threaten one of the participating businesses.

“Through one of the food truck’s web pages on their comment section, the food truck was informed that supporting the pride festivities would be an act of sin, and that…their vehicle would be tagged. Because of that, they decided to withdraw from the pride festival, which we understand because somebody was threatening their livelihoods (and) they would be unable to go to an event the very next day that they had signed up for because they would probably need to take care of what was going on with their vehicle,” said Emerson-Froebe.

The threat caused a chain reaction amongst the other food trucks.

“Once that had happened, the next one dropped out, and then the next one dropped out, because of this intimidation factor that was coming towards them, so we were without food trucks, and that was really unfortunate,” said Emerson-Froebe.

In response to the incident, the group proceeded to notify the authorities, which Emerson-Froebe said, “have been wonderful to deal with.” They also hired a security team, and Dykes on Bikes will be in attendance to help with additional safety duties.

Although the organization understood why the food trucks dropped out, it was reeling from the shock of what to do about the food situation.

Fortunately, the Altona Elks Lodge 447 swooped in to offer a helping hand.

“The Altona Elks reached out to us after hearing about what we were going through, and now they have offered to set up a barbecue, and they're going to provide hot dogs and soda pop and chips for folks who are there. They are donating their services. They're donating the food there…. This is just out of the kindness of their heart to support the community,” noted Emerson-Froebe.

It’s not the first time that the rally, which started in 2019 and serves numerous communities (including Morden, Winkler, Morris, and Emerson) has had to contend with hate.

“Unfortunately, it's become the norm each year… we are constantly dealing with somebody behind a keyboard who is sending out threatening messages here and there. We've been informed, in past years, that someone will drive a truck through the parade, and some of our performers have been informed that they should be committing suicide because what they're doing is a sin. So, unfortunately, it'll be delightful when we don't have to deal with this,” Emerson-Froebe explained.

Despite the adversity the rally has faced, the organization says it further emphasizes the necessity of operating a pride event in southern Manitoba.

“It makes it even stronger. We are not going to be intimidated. We are not going to be bullied. We want everyone to know that they are accepted, and until the bullying is done, until all of this is normalized, until we don't have to stand up for our rights, we will need to continue to have pride.”

Emerson-Froebe also said she also wants people to focus on the joy of the occasion.

“It’s very inspirational. It's very happy, it's very loving and accepting, and it's very grassroots. We're still a very small organization - all volunteer-run. So we are just going to put on a good party.”

The celebration will include speakers, a designated kids’ area, a makers’ market, and drag performers. There will also be an after-party held in the evening.

“We are going to have so many happy people. Most pride events have the most just joyous people. And it's so wonderful to be around so much happiness,” said Emerson-Froebe.

Pride 2024 kicks off at Centennial Park at noon and runs through 4:00 p.m. Top Stories

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