Pride weekend aims to be ‘bigger and better’

Flashback to Pride weekend 2014   The Gay Pride weekend took place in Blackpool.
Flashback to Pride weekend 2014 The Gay Pride weekend took place in Blackpool.
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The countdown is on to the launch of this year’s Blackpool Pride Festival.

Organisers are planning a ‘bigger and better’ weekend for the celebration of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

A launch party for the festival weekend, June 13 and 14, will take place at Viva Blackpool on Friday, March 6.

Last year’s launch party raised £8,000 towards the event.

The Church Street cabaret venue will be putting on its regular show with some special Pride guests, including Bonnie la Blue and Brandy 
Babycham, to mark the start of what’s being called Rainbow Weekend, where bars across the resort will also host Pride fund-raiser events.

Shaun Pickup, Pride Blackpool chairman, said: “Last year’s launch party atmosphere was electric and so successful so we help it will be bigger and better.

“Pride has to grow here in Blackpool, like it has in Manchester and Liverpool, even Newcastle where their festival brought £3million into the city.

“Within the next three to four years we hope to get to that level. Two years ago 3,000 people came, last year 10,000.”

Pride celebrations will be centred on the Winter Gardens once more this year, with events also planned at bars and other resort venues.

The main stage will be in the Empress Ballroom, for the first time, with a children’s and youth area in the Arena and over 18s in the Pavilion, as well as dedicated womens and over-50s sections.

Among the main attractions once more will be the Pride Parade, which the team hopes will this year start at South Shore.

“We’re so excited for this year’s Pride,” Shaun added. “It’s important to the resort to make Pride a great weekend, because if people come and have a good time they will come back another time.

“A lot more bars have come on board with financial support for the weekend, but we need more sponsors.

“Flying the rainbow flag – which even the Tower does for us – is about equality for 
everyone.”

Entry to the Pride launch party costs £7.50 including a welcome drink, or £150 for a table of 10 including a welcome drink and table buffet.

Contact Shaun at chair@blackpoolpridefest.com.