Victoria Pride Society has released a documentary on the annual Memorial Dragball Game. (Courtesy of Peter B. Jakab/victoriapridesociety.org)

Victoria Pride Society reveals history of annual Memorial Dragball Game

Documentary launches July 1 online

As this year’s Victoria Pride events go virtual due to COVID-19, the time-honoured Memorial Dragball Game will not take place but an alternative to the popular event is planned for those who miss it.

Victoria Pride Society released a documentary detailing the history of the Memorial Dragball Game on July 1, the day the game typically takes place.

“We’ve got interviews with old players, one of the original creators and we took three drag kings and three drag queens to Vic West Park for some filming,” said David Tillson, Victoria Pride Society president and Pride festival director.

Tillson has been running the Memorial Dragball Game for years and says it has evolved to become a community outing meant for people to have fun without any commercialism or sponsorship getting in the way.

“We don’t care who you are or how you identify,” Tillson said. “If you want to play you pick a team and play softball.”

The game has roots dating back to 1993 when a group of friends, many who were drag performers, were grieving the loss of community members from HIV/AIDS. They were looking for a way to forget reality and just play a game and so the Memorial Dragball Game was born.

There are two teams, the drag kings and the drag queens. Those who play on the drag kings sport fake facial hair drawn on with makeup and those on the drag kings wear a wig and lipstick. All of the players come up with silly drag games and they “sort of” play softball, Tillson said.

“We’re not really good at it,” Tillson said. “We play seriously for the first half and then it goes haywire by the second half. When they say steal the bases we literally steal the bases.”

Tillson, who is the master of ceremonies for the event, says he has a lot of fun in the role and eventually makes up a final score so both teams tie.

The game opens with a proclamation from Victoria’s mayor as well as a land acknowledgement, singing of O’ Canada and the singing of Somewhere over the Rainbow which Tillson said is the game’s anthem. The anthems, acknowledgement and proclamation will be included in the documentary.

While there are about 35 players in the game, more than 1,000 spectators usually make their way to the park for a day of fun “antics” Tillson said.

The documentary premieres on Victoria Pride Society’s YouTube channel on July 1. For more information, visit VictoriaPrideSociety’s Facebook page.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca

LGBTQPrideVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

Public tips lead to arrest in alleged random assault on Victoria bus

June 19 incident was recorded by onboard camera

Woman who talked to unconscious husband, a Victoria police officer, for 30 years focus of study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

B.C. residents can go to the Royal BC Museum for half price all summer

Museum reopening in phases, COVID-19 measures in place

Sidney asking tourists to respect health guidelines

Messaging says Sidney is ‘excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits’

VIDEO: Victoria’s Raging Grannies call for end to public funding of for-profit senior homes

Organizer says COVID-19 has made senior home issues more apparent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Most Read