Loud and proud - Norwich Pride takes to the streets

Norwich Pride parade from Chapelfield Gardens

Norwich Pride parade from Chapelfield Gardens - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC 2

Norwich Pride takes place this weekend in a riot of rainbow colour and it is an important celebration for the county's lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. SIMON PARKIN reports.

Norwich will be a rainbow nation this weekend as the fifth Norwich Pride sees a huge variety of events for all the family, including exhibitions, performances, picnics and the colourful parade.

Samba dancers, story tellers and live theatre were amongst the entertainment last year as 5,000 people attended the celebration of Norwich's lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities.

The turnout was a significant rise on the 3,000 that attended the first event in 2009, and organisers are expecting even more people again this year. The event, which is self-funded and organised by volunteers, aims to raise awareness and tackle intolerance as well as acting as an important celebration for the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community.

Events will include sewing – with a group called Sew Gay – poetry evenings, plays and discussions on gender and sexuality. Saturday's main day begins at 10am with an opening ceremony on Millennium Plain. As usual the main focus of the day's celebrations will be the colourful carnival procession through the city centre, when more than 5,000 people are expected.

Norwich Pride has grown on humble beginnings to embrace an ever larger number of events. Organisers are keen to stress that the event is inclusive.

t For more details and a full list of events visit: www.norwichpride.org.uk

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Pride Without Prejudice

St Margaret's Church of Art, St Benedict's Street, until August 3, 10am-5pm, free admission, www.art-of-norwich.co.uk

Open submission exhibition that is a celebration of diversity with works by artists regardless of style, qualification, experience, age, race, sexuality or gender. There will be a special garden party outside the exhibition on Friday (1pm).

Pride 5

The Forum, Thursday, from 11am

There will be a talk (11am) entitled Love Music Hate Racism and Homophobia with Jules Bremner, followed by DJ Jules on decks (12pm–2pm), including a 'Break the Chain' flashmob dance practice at 1pm. Carnival Arts Workshop (12pm-3pm) where you can create props and costumes for the Pride Parade with Pat Howe from Spirit of Carnival.

Pride Opening Ceremony

Millennium Plain, Saturday, 10am-12pm

The official opening of Pride followed by two hours of show tunes from Taverham Brass Band. There will also be over 40 different stalls including local support groups, national charities and local craftspeople.

Pride Question Time

The Curve, Saturday 12pm-1pm

There will once again be the chance to pose the hot political questions of the day to an expert panel including Mike Stonard, chair of Norwich Pride 2013; Elly Barnes, the LGBT Schools Advisor; and Guardian writer and feminist Jane Fae. Expect gay marriage to feature strongly.

Pride Picnic

Chapelfield Gardens, Saturday 12pm-2pm,

Entertainment on the bandstand includes the DGAS drummers, Norwich Ukulele Society, Kimberley Moore, Andrea Burdett and Red Flags with a rousing rendition of Glad to be Gay. The Family Zone includes games, balloons, Shelly Teddy's bubbles and carnival crafts. The park will be decorated by Sew Gay, who have been making bunting, banners, pompoms and chains all year.

The Parade

Chapelfield Gardens-Millennium Plain, Saturday, starts 2pm

Called together by the bells of the Norwich Town Crier David Bullock, and launched by Lord Mayor of Norwich, Keith Driver in his Pride scarf, the parade will be lead by the Norwich Samba Band and their dancers with the Dun Dun Band, Musica de Brazil and club music from The Loft NR1. The emotional highpoint of the day and this year set to be the biggest and the brightest yet as it will include a 50m-long Rainbow Flag. It will be colourful, loud and impossible to ignore.

The Pride Show

Millennium Plain, Norwich, Saturday, 3pm

Ms Special K and Ms Krystal de Kanta are reforming the Killer Queens for one day only to host this post-parade show. Pride favourite Eileen Mascoll will be creating a wonderful party atmosphere, plus there will be classical cross-over artist Jaden Cornelius. V-sign's Vicky Royall will perform Bohemian Rhapsody like you've never seen it before. Swedish singer Jan George and boy band Class Act will have everyone dancing and Ravennan Husbandes, winner of Future Radio's Next Big Thing competition, comes from fresh from performing at Latitude.

After Pride Parties

t The Castle (Spitelfields) — Barbecue from 5pm and entertainment and DJs from 7pm.

t Lollard's Pit (Riverside Road) — Two big days of Pride entertainment, Saturday from 11am-1am with some classic party music into the early hours. Sunday 11am-11pm with pride camp bingo from 4.30pm.

t Coach & Horses (Union Street) — Follow the stilts or balloon trail from Chapelfield Gardens to claim your free vodka jelly. Barbecue from 3pm. Live music from 5pm featuring T-Bone & the Horn and Noah Fenz. Fire show at 9pm. Ms Kitty at 9.30pm.

t The Loft (Rose Lane) — DJ Rob Davis is at the decks for this special Pride weekender from 10pm-6am.

t Catherine Wheel (St Augustine's) — Fabulous post-Pride party in typically extravangant style with award-winning cabaret stars Baga Chipz Mbe and Tanya Hyde coming direct from the West End.

t Twilight (St Anne's Wharf) — Norwich's newest LGBT night picks the perfect night to launch with a bang! Free bucks fizz, DJs, hostest with the mostest Ms Izzy Harjet and the fabulous Krystal De-Kanta with a special post-Pride performance.