Colourful lights, club music, pride flags, and pole dancers. That’s what guests were greeted with after walking into the TELUS Spark Science Centre for their Spark After Dark, adults only night on June 10! Every other month, the Spark Centre holds an after-hours, 18+ event, and this month’s theme was Beyond the Rainbow, making it the very first pride event Spark has ever held.
It was a celebration of pride as much as it was a scientific learning experience on sexuality and gender. Spark partnered with Calgary Pride, the Centre for Sexuality, and SafeLink Alberta to present talks about sexuality, safe sex, sex work, and more. They even had naloxone training set up to help individuals be prepared if they ever encounter an opioid poisoning emergency, as well as free naloxone kits for attendees to take home.
Apart from the science side of things, the night resembled a massive pride party, with people dancing to the music, trying cool specialty drinks, and watching the amazing performances on the Feature Gallery Stage. There were drag performers, burlesque shows, pole dancers, and beyond. The crowd was incredibly lively and interactive with the performers, making the experience that much more enjoyable. There was also a Queer Creators Market set up for attendees to peruse while watching the shows. In the main atrium, there was also a face and body painting booth set up, which many people took advantage of.
The specialty drink of the night was the Sex-A-Peel, which was made with vodka and served in fun, light up cups. To get the delicious cocktail, you had to buy a special drink ticket and then wait in a very long line; however, Spark workers were selling rainbow shots out of test tubes for people to buy while waiting. When you finally got to the front of the line, the bartenders would mix your drink and then pour it down through a tube where you would catch it in your cup. The experience made the wait worth it, in my opinion!
The Spark Centre’s exhibitions were also open for people to check out while sipping on their drinks, including Quantum Sandbox in the digital immersion gallery. This interactive experience is much more interesting after a drink or two, especially when you’re surrounded by such a diverse and welcoming group of people. Almost everyone at the event was dressed to theme, wearing creative and colourful outfits, topped off with some crazy accessories and personal pronoun buttons. The walls were adorned with numerous different pride flags and the bathrooms were completely gender neutral for the night. The Pet Access League Society (PALS) was also present, walking dogs around the building for attendees to play and interact with.
Overall, the event was incredibly fun, and Spark did a fantastic job putting together such an inclusive event that so many people were able to enjoy. Who knew the science centre knew how to throw a party? Happy Pride, everyone!