Chester Pride returns for its fifth year later this month – and organisers are hoping it will be a day to remember.
The annual event, which celebrates diversity and the LGBT community in Chester, will begin as usual with the colourful parade which transforms the city into a sea of colour as it makes its way through the city streets.
Previous years have seen thousands turn out for the free occasion and this year promises to be as vibrant as ever.
Chester Pride chair and director Helen Pickin-Jones said: “When we started on our journey we were unsure how well Pride would be received and for how long it would survive, but we have been fortunate to have fantastic support from our local authority, public sector services, local organisations, businesses, volunteers, and of course everyone who comes along each year.
“We thank you for helping us to not only remain a key event in the city, but to grow and cater for the diversity within the LGBT community and our allies.”
When is Chester Pride 2017?
This year's Chester Pride takes place on Saturday, August 19.
Where will it be held?
What time does the parade start?
The walking parade which kicks off proceedings is a huge event consisting of community groups, public sector services, local companies and businesses, trade unions, bands, dancers, drag queens and more. It begins at Castle Square at 12pm and will march through Chester city centre in a riot of colour. The entertainment then begins back at Castle Square.
Who will be performing?
The music starts at 1pm with Lady Gaga tribute act Vicky Jackson on the main stage, followed by Chester band Me and Deboe and local entertainer Sharon Wallace. Headlining later in the evening will be 90s band B*Witched and there will also be performances by Saffron of Britpop band Republica and 80s pop starlet Sonia.
Other acts on the main stage include Kelly Wilde, Danny Beard, Viaduct Starlets, a Pink tribute act, Melissa Totten as Madonna, Shagger and Mav Mac.
In The Glitter Lounge, there will be sparkling performances on the cabaret stage featuring The Star Bazaar, Starla Bright and Atheria Hart.
And on the Original Music stage, The Glendale Family, Campfire Social, Kidsmoke, CaStLeS and Seazoo will be performing.
What is the Chester Pride marketplace?
There will be a whole host of market stalls available in Castle Square where you can buy rainbow goods, sweets, cakes, gifts, crafts and even get your hair styled or glitter in your beard if you desire.
Can I bring children?
There will be a special children’s zone for youngsters to play and get involved in an activity with crafts, story time from Cheshire West and Chester libraries and more – from 1-6pm.
This year the National Childbirth Trust Chester (NCT Chester) will also be attending to provide a space for feeding and changing (the tent next to the children’s zone).
A special space called the youth zone gives youngsters aged 11-19 the chance to sit back and take some time out with friends, meet the Phoenix LGBT+ youth group, chat with a youth worker or take part in an activity.
As well as inflatable sofas, you can make your own smoothie using pedal power on a smoothie bike, make something special in the crafts area or try your hand at graffiti with Graffiti Dave.
Are there any specific activities for older people?
The Silver Rainbows, a social network for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Cheshire, will be running an older people’s LGBT space at Chester Pride 2017. The space will feature memory boxes, music, a polari quiz, oral histories, a photo booth and vintage sweets.
Silver Rainbows will also be hosting a screening of the Wizard of Oz Sing-a-long at Grosvenor Museum from 5.30pm. For tickets and more information visit www.silverrainbows.com.
What if I need a break from the crowds?
New for 2017 is an alcohol-free chill out space. This is located in the Chester Castle courtyard. This space will have a seating area in the courtyard for those who need a break from the crowd, and a top terrace on the castle walls featuring performers in our ‘busking area’ with non amplified acoustic music. Cheshire Autism will be there to offer support and advice to those who need it.
Castle courtyard will be open until 6pm. You will not be permitted to take alcoholic drinks into the courtyard.
What food will be available?
There will be a variety of food vendors at Chester Pride, catering for a range of cuisines and dietary requirements. These are RT Gourmet Burgers, Give Peas a Chance (vegan food), Cone Cuisine - Pizza in a Cone, The Fish and Chip Van and two on-site Pride bars serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Are there facilities available if I have to bring my own food?
A fridge is available should you need to bring specialist food or even medicine that has to be kept cold during the festival.
What if I need medical assistance during the festival?
Events Medical provides comprehensive medical advice and treatment facilities and are very flexible in meeting specific needs. They will be based onsite. In the event of a medical emergency you will need to alert staff.
Which roads will be affected?
Roads including Pepper Street, Grosvenor Street, White Friars, Castle Street and Lower Bridge Street will be affected from 11.30am-1pm during the parade and the Little Roodee Car Park will be closed from 5pm on Friday August 18 - midnight on Saturday.
Where can I park?
The nearest car parks are the Little Roodee car park and Chester Racecourse. Blue Badge parking is available at both sites which are located less than 100m from the site.
How does the festival cater for people with disabilities or mobility problems?
Castle Square consists of level, tarmac ground accessible to people who use mobility equipment. A map of the site is available on the Chester Pride website.
Chester’s disability charity DIAL West Cheshire (DIAL House) will be supporting disabled access at this event and DIAL’s Shopmobility Service will operate from a stand close to the Entrance Gate offering free hire of mobility equipment, including mobility scooters and wheelchairs. Equipment will be available on a first come, first served basis on the day.
Alternatively, contact DIAL WestCheshire Shopmobility to enquire about pre-booking.
An accessible, raised viewing platform for those with mobility impairments will be available for viewing the main stage. There will also be a designated drop off and pick up point for disabled people.
Are there any transgender amenities?
If you identify as transgender and need a place to change during Chester Pride, the Health, Life and Wellbeing Zone features a transgender changing room for you to get ready or freshen up in and is available from 11am. To use the space ask at the Pride stand in the Health, Life and Wellbeing Zone, or if it is after 5pm, ask at the Chester Pride stall in the marketplace.
Where will the after-parties be held?
Official after-parties will be held at a number of Chester pubs and bars into the early hours.
These include The Old Queens Head on Foregate Street, The Liverpool Arms on Northgate Street, The Saddle Inn on Grosvenor Street, The Commercial, Telford’s Warehouse and Commonhall Street Social on Commonhall Street.
For more information about Chester Pride, click here .