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Vancouver Pride Survival Guide

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In case you missed all the media coverage surrounding the new -- and fabulous -- rainbow crosswalk in the West End, Pride Week is in full swing in Vancouver. I love how Vancouverites come together to celebrate this meaningful event and I'm grateful to live in a city that wholeheartedly embraces it.

One of the most popular events of the week is the Pride Parade, which takes place at 12 p.m. on August 4 along Robson, Denman and Pacific. If it's your first time checking out the parade and you're worried about navigating the crowds, here are a few tips to ensure an awesome time:

Pick a good spot and go early! Try to avoid the area right around Denman and Davie, and find a spot somewhere earlier on the parade route. I always snag a spot in front of the Whole Foods on Robson and Cardero. There's a $5 pancake breakfast with all proceeds benefiting A Loving Spoonful and you'll get to see everyone in full glam, before all the glitter and makeup melts off.

Prepare for the heat. Regardless of what the weather man is telling you (24 degrees usually feels like 30 plus), it's always hot. Smoking hot. Bring water, wear sunscreen and wear a hat (not a giant fascinator that obstructs people's view, but something sensible). Fortunately, the fire fighters hose down the crowd as they roll by (unfortunately, they never take their shirts off while doing this).

Make plans to party somewhere post-parade. After three hours of dancing, donning beads and being exposed to some exceptionally fit bods, you'll probably be in the mood to keep the party going.

Some post-parade after parties to consider:

Vancouver Gay Pride Festival at Sunset Beach

Follow the tail end of the parade and shimmy all the way to Sunset Beach for a family-friendly, free festival. Enjoy live music by local performers, a local market with over 150 tents and food carts, or boogie alongside a bunch of hot, sweaty boys in the beer garden.

Trouble Pride T-Dance at The Ticket

Pop some bottles and touch some models -- namely Andrew Christian and Sean Zevran -- and meet gay porn star Randy Blue at The Ticket (808 Beatty St.). Beats provided by local DJ Quest in the cool indoor/outdoor space and complimentary tapas will be served. Tickets are expected to sell out so get them soon!

Pride Go Go Cruise

Twerk it out to DJ Zach Shore and Kasey Riot aboard the MV Britannia. Enjoy performances by the incomparable Joan-E and Carlotta Gurl. The cruise boards at 5pm and sails from 6-10pm. Advance tickets here.

For more details on Pride parties and events, visit vancouverpride.ca

Happy Pride Vancouver!