While an in-person pride parade won’t be possible in downtown Nanaimo this month due to COVID-19, a group of Central-Island Lego enthusiasts are keeping the tradition going on a smaller scale.
For the month of June, the Mid Island Lego Users Group is exhibiting a pride parade-themed display outside Wellington Library at Country Club Centre. The three-by-six-foot scene is part of a monthly display series MILUG has been presenting alternatively at the library and Curious Comics at the mall over the past year.
“I think it turned out fabulously … especially since there’s no parade this year,” MILUG co-founder Krista Simpson said of the display. “It’s our piece of the parade for everybody.”
Simpson said the group’s 25 members normally showcase their work at in-person events like the Vancouver Island Exhibition and Maple Sugar Festival, where some displays get up to 20 feet wide. MILUG started making displays at Country Club Centre around the start of the pandemic.
Simpson said the displays at Curious Comics relate to superheroes and science fiction, while displays at the library have been more varied and seasonal. She said she was partly motivated to build a pride-themed display by Lego’s new LGBTQ-inspired Everyone is Awesome set, which features rainbow-coloured figurines. Simpson is also a member of an international Lego group called the Brick Alliance, that works towards increasing diversity and inclusion in the Lego community.
“Some of those folks were holding contests related to building things with rainbow themes and whatnot and I got thinking, ‘There’s this new set, everyone’s getting on board with doing rainbow and pride-related builds, so why don’t we do it as well?’” Simpson said. “So I pitched it to our members and folks were on board.”
Simpson and her partner and fellow MILUG co-founder Laura Hawley built some buildings from a Lego set and decorated them in pride colours and laid out the street scene. Group members submitted floats to go in the parade. Simpson’s is a rainbow-coloured orca.
The crowd features more than 400 figurines, with little scenes happening throughout the tableau. Simpson said she imagined what would be seen at a Nanaimo pride parade.
“There’s the king and queen of the pride parade. Obviously, the queen is the male and the king is the female,” she said. “So we tried to think about the things that we might see at the parade and include those, but with a creative, imaginative twist.”
MILUG is also taking part in the #everyoneisawesome build challenge and is encouraging Lego fans to post their rainbow-inspired creations to Instagram and Facebook with the hashtags #everyoneisawesome and #rainbowbuildchallenge.