Norwich is out and proud!
The third Norwich Pride takes place this weekend in a riot of rainbow colour from the parade to a host of events that are an important celebration for the city's ledbian, gay, bisexual and trans community. SIMON PARKIN reports.
Norwich will be a rainbow nation tomorrow as the second 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 community.
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.
Pride chairman Julie Bremner said: 'I am really excited about the third annual Norwich LGBT Pride event and I know that I am not the only one.
'Year on year we have built Pride into the fabric of this fine city, raising the visibility of the LGBT community through activity on the day, as well as through other related events and spin-off groups.'
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Ahead of the main event there have been a range of Pride activities throughout the city, including exhibitions and shows.
Tomorrow the event 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.
Organisers hope to build on the success of the first two Norwich Pride events, which have grown on humble beginners to embrace a larger number of events this year. And they are keen to stress that the event is inclusive.
'It is a celebration from the LGBT community for everyone,' said Julie Bremner. 'The events in the daytime on July 30 are free and inclusive — all are welcome and the fact they are free means that everyone can enjoy them equally. It will be family friendly as well. I hope to see everyone there and apparently the weather will be ok — no rain!'
? For more details and a full list of events visit: www.norwichpride.org.uk
Pride Tea Party
The Tea Lounge, Ber Street, July 29, 4pm, �7.95
Munch on delicately cut sandwiches, while listening to Rod the harpist gently serenading Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Vince Laws, the Pride Poet Laureate, performing love poetry and music from Fanny Jam
Pride Opening Ceremony
The Forum, July 30, 10am
Norwich Taiko Drummers and Spirit of Carnival provide a lively start, plus the Stewards Dance - 50 volunteers in high-vis jackets moving as one!
Pride Question Time
The Forum, July 30, 12pm-1pm
LGBTI rights campaigner Peter Tatchell joins Chloe Smith MP and Norwich Pride chairman Julie Bremner for a lively debate. There's also discussions in the Forum throughout the day.
The Pride Picnic
Chapelfield Gardens, July 30, 12pm-3pm
Live music from Future Radio, performance and even prizes for best dressed dog!
Art with a Capital Q
Fusion, The Forum, July 30, 1pm-5pm
Tate Modern's Marcus Dickey Horley, casts a queer eye over the Tate collection.
The Street Parade
Chapelfield Gardens-Millennium Plain, July 30, 2.30pm
Led by Lord Mayor of Norwich Jenny Lay and the Dun Dun band, the route goes from Chapelfield Gardens, down Theatre Street, along Gentleman's Walk, up Gaol Hill and past City Hall where the Pride Scarf will be hanging. It will be colourful, loud and impossible to ignore.
The Pride Show
Millennium Plain, July 30, 3.30pm-5.30pm
A celebratory showcase of talent to entertainment the rainbow crowds. Local and national acts gracing the stage will include Sean Seraphim singing Quiet Riot, the official Pride single for 2011, Knightshift Dance Company, dance scene phenomenon Lee Bennett with his new single, Fanny Jam plus many more, not forgetting Pride favourites Pequila Bigtopp and always glambolic Titti T-rash.
After Pride Parties
? Caf� Bar Marzano — An evening of music and comedy from 5pm including DJ Vickie, Tatiana Okupnik, Lou Whatling, ShakeUp! favourites Fanny Jam.
? Bridge House — This traditional gay pub will also be welcoming Pride-goers and the like for an evening of partying in Pride style.
? The Sherbet Lounge — Post-Pride cake, jazz and relaxed atmosphere at Take 5 on Tombland, kicking up a gear at 10pm, with cheesy club classics. Entry �3.
? The Castle — Norwich's own tangerine-haired Titti T-rash will be welcoming gatherers from 5.30pm joined by vocalist Lee Bennett and Lady Imelda from 7.30pm.
? The Catherine Wheel — Sing your hearts out with karaoke plus the sing-a-long with F'Abba from 7pm.
? Henrys — The wonderful Wilma Fingadoowalong is joined by DJs spinning suitably gay anthems.
? The Coach & Horses — This Union Street pub celebrates Norwich Pride with karaoke and a warm welcoming party atmosphere open to all.
? The Loft — The gay nightclub opens its doors especially early at 5pm for a nights that will include Sandra London and Miss Shirly D and her go-go dancers.
? St Gregory's Centre — Cocktail bar, movies and the wonderful Pride portrait gallery along with a live acoustic music jam from 4pm-11pm.