Manchester City Council offers a warm welcome to the Manchester Pride festival, as the city looks forward to the Big Weekend (24 to 27 August).
The Big Weekend is a 72 hour celebration of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) life in Manchester's gay village.
The 11-day festival, which finishes in spectacular party style, offers a huge range of live music, film, arts and entertainment.
This year, Manchester Pride and the Marriott Victoria & Albert Hotel will introduce an extra special proceeding to the annual festivities with a group civil partnership ceremony to celebrate the Civil Partnership Act. The high point of the festival is Saturday's colourful parade through Manchester. From 2 pm the city's streets will teem with partygoers enjoying the carnival atmosphere. More than 80 organisations, including the city council's own open-top bus, organised by the LGBT employee group, will parade through the city centre.
The festival will draw to a close with the George House Trust candle-lit vigil on Monday 27 August to celebrate and to remember the lives of those lost to HIV and AIDS.
Councillor Paul Fairweather, Manchester City Council's lead member on gay men's issues, said: "Manchester City Council has a proven commitment to lesbian and gay equality and I'm truly proud to be a member of an authority which supports its local Pride festival to a level which is unprecedented nationally."
Councillor Mary Murphy, the Council's lead member on lesbian issues, said: "Many of us here have fought long and hard to change both attitudes and legislation, and it's wonderful to have an occasion to celebrate in such spectacular style."
Deborah Grace/Rebecca Kennedy, tel 0161 234 3332