Chester Pride will make an ‘exciting’ return to the city in 2016.
The fourth annual celebration of equality and diversity and support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community will take place on Saturday October 1, once again at Castle Square which saw a huge turnout to last year’s festival.
Organisers of the free event, which will be sponsored by M&S Bank, hope to exceed last year’s attendance of around 8,000 people and have promised some exciting new plans for this year’s Pride.
Sue Fox, CEO of M&S Bank, said: “It’s really important that every individual feels supported and comfortable in being true to themselves in the workplace and this is something we take incredibly seriously at M&S Bank.
“That’s why we’re delighted to be sponsoring Chester Pride for the third year running; since the event started in 2013 it has gone from strength to strength and is something that so many people in the region look forward to. We’re really excited to be a part of it once again.”
Last year’s event was a huge success, with thousands of people, local businesses and dignitaries lining the streets for a giant parade which transformed Chester into a sea of colour.
But not everyone was in full support of the festival, and one Chester businessman made headlines when he made a stand against a group of anti-gay religious protesters who stationed themselves on Bridge Street holding bibles and placards featuring sentences such as ‘Pride comes before destruction.’
A video of Dean Paton, managing director of Big Heritage marching up to the protesters waving a banner reading ‘Homophobes are statistically more likely to be gay’, went viral online and caused much outcry on social media.
Dean, who decided to strategically stand next to them holding his banner so the arrow pointed towards them, described his actions as ‘pro-equality.’
“I did it because our organisation is about equality and we promote it as much as we can,” he told The Chronicle afterwards. “I don’t see how waving 2000-year-old books should justify the bigotry of these people, I just wanted to make a point in a way, ridiculing them for it.”
Last year’s main stage event was headlined by DJ and singer Sonique but it has not yet been announced which musical acts are lined up for this year.
Helen Pickin-Jones, chair of Chester Pride, said “Due to the support of sponsors and a team of dedicated volunteers, Chester Pride will take place once again at Castle Square, Chester on October 1. We are happy that we are able to keep this a free event for all to attend and we are currently working on some exciting new plans for Pride 2016.”
Chester Pride are looking for companies to sponsor the event, vendors for the marketplace, stewards to help the day go smoothly, and submissions for the Chester Pride parade. If you would like to be involved email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can be found at www.chesterpride.co.uk or follow Chester Pride UK on Facebook, or via Twitter @chesterpride
A quiz night to raise money for Chester Pride will be hosted at Taylor & Brown’s cafe in Chester on March 6. Tickets are £3 each available from Taylor & Brown’s or online at www.chesterpride.co.uk.