As August bank holiday weekend rolls around in 2018, Manchester will once again be celebrating Pride on its streets and in its bars and clubs. Pride weekend has long been regarded as a cultural celebration, not just of all things queer, but of equality, acceptance and love in its many and varied forms. 2018 Manchester Pride may well be the last in Manchester's famous 'Gay Village' due to planned development in the area in 2019, but it will certainly be a Pride to remember as some of the biggest acts in pop and dance take to its stages to entertain and enthral Manchester's party goers. This year's Pride also has a number of suburban mini-Pride events happening around the outskirts of Manchester city centre, making this year's Pride an even larger scale event than in previous years.
The 'Big Weekend' kicks off with Manchester's famous parade, which kicks off at the corner of Liverpool Road and Deansgate at 12pm, proceeding fabulously through Manchester city centre, taking in Peter Street, Oxford Street and Portland Street, before ending up at the Gay Village, situated in the Canal Street area of Manchester's city centre, conveniently located a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from Manchester Piccadilly and Piccadilly Gardens. Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on the city center for the parade, so plan your journey, get there early and be aware that the streets (and public transport) will be heaving! This year's Pride theme is 'Circus of Acceptance', so dress up and expect a flamboyant and genuinely eye-popping spectacular!
Featuring some pretty impressive acts this year including Rita Ora, Pete Tong and Sigala as well as a fair few gay icons and performers, the weekend starts with a bang on Friday night and carries right on through until bank holiday Monday. For the last time, most of the action will be centralised to the Gay Village, and entry is by wristband only.
The Candlelit Vigil is the culmination and spiritual heart of the Big Pride Weekend with thousands of people gathering together in solidarity in Sackville Gardens, Manchester to remember those loved ones suffering from HIV and friends and relatives now passed, as well as reflecting on the challenges still faced by many LGBTQ+ people and communities around the world. For a precious few moments Sackville Gardens is transformed into a carpet of flickering candles - a humbling and emotional sight.
Have a safe and happy Pride!
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