Manchester City Council offers a warm welcome to the Manchester Pride festival as the city looks forward to the Big Weekend (28 to 31 August).
The Big Weekend is a 72 hour celebration of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) life in Manchester's gay village. As usual the Town Hall will be flying the rainbow flag.
The 11-day festival, which finishes in spectacular party style, offers a huge range of live music, film, arts and entertainment.
The high point of the festival is Saturday's colourful parade through Manchester. From 1pm the city's streets will teem with partygoers enjoying the carnival atmosphere. More than 92 organisations, including Manchester city council's own open-top bus, organised by the LGBT employee group, will parade through the city centre.
The Pride main stage will feature performances from Little Boots, Human League, Freemasons, Frankmusic, Bananarama, Peter Andre and Alphabeat.
The festival will draw to a close with the Pride candle-lit vigil on Monday 31 August to celebrate and to remember the lives of those lost to HIV and AIDS.
Manchester City Council lead member on lesbians' issues councillor Mary Murphy 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."
Manchester City council lead member on gay men's issues councillor Paul Fairweather said: "Manchester City Council has led the way for local authorities on LGBT equality and we are delighted to continue our support for another fantastic Pride festival."
Pride Weekend road closures, 28 August - 1 September 2009
Road closures will be in place from 6am on Friday 28 August until 7am on Tuesday 1 September within the Village area, to create a safe and secure event site for those attending Manchester Pride 2009.
All closures will be lifted by 7am on Tuesday 1 September 2009.
Motorists are also advised that Liverpool Road will be closed from 6am on Saturday 29 August, for the floats to be set up for the Manchester Pride Parade.
The parade will begin on Liverpool Road and will follow a route along Deansgate past the Great Northern Square. From Deansgate it turns right onto St Anne's Street and then back onto Cross Street.
From there the parade goes back onto Princess Street, down to Whitworth Street and then continues onto Fairfield Street heading towards London Road where the parade ends.
Along the parade route, from 12.30pm, police will operate a rolling programme of short-term road closures, which will result in delays to traffic. Motorists are advised to avoid Manchester city centre from that time. All roads should be open again by 6pm.
Fairfield Street from Whitworth Street to London Road will also be closed and it is expected that the road will be open again to traffic by 6pm on 29 August.