n Saturday 22 July 2017, Hull City Centre will come alive with vibrant festivities and entertainment. This is because the annual Pride in Hull Parade is taking place.
We spoke to one of the Board Trustees, Heath Marsh-McLeod, to find out more about this fantastic event.
Can you tell us about this year's Pride in Hull Parade?
This year, Pride in Hull is the first ever UK Pride. This title has been awarded to us by an organisation called UK PON (Pride Organisers Network). It's the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in this country and, of course, Hull is the UK City of Culture for 2017. The idea is to give this honour to every City of Culture going forward.
It basically means that Hull's Pride will be bigger and better than it's ever been before. We're hosting the largest Pride Parade ever to take place in the city. It will set off from Hull College, make its way around most of the city centre and end at the Rose Bowl Fountain in Queen's Gardens. Currently, we have 3,000 people marching. It'll be fabulous.
What are some of the highlights of the Parade?
People can look forward to seeing fifty effigies. Each one will represent a gay icon from the past half a century. This has been organised by London-based theatre company, Duckie. They have come up to Hull to work with local communities to create the effigies with recycled materials, paper mache, and of course, lots of glitter. You will see legends like Pat Butcher from EastEnders and Lily Savage. It will be quite a spectacle.
What about the rest of the day?
As the parade passes through the Rosebowl, Pride in Hull will be open. As you enter Queen's Gardens, you will be greeted by the All For One Choir. This will be followed by a 7-hour programme of entertainment on the main stage.
Local drag celebrity Bobby Mandrell will be performing their original 60s drag act. A few local dance companies will also take to the stage. Samantha Atkinson will be singing. Pop group B*Witched and international drag artist La Voix are also on the line-up.
Meanwhile, we have put together an LGBT Sinfonia orchestra. It's quite a unique show and essentially involves performing Ibiza dance music with classic orchestral instruments.
Basically, we have a real mix bag of events, all trying to reflect the past five decades of the LGBT community.
And this, of course, kicks off a weeklong programme of events across the city?
Yes, indeed. On Monday at Fruit, we have a commissioned performance of Lads and Lasses. We have worked in partnership with Hull Independent Cinema to present a Hull LGBT Film Festival on Tuesday. This involves six LGBT film showings across four different citywide venues.
The following night will be a comedy show and LGBT Entrepreneur workshop. On Thursday, we are hosting a photography exhibition. To finish off, on Friday we're putting on a Red Ribbon Ball to fundraise for the Hardy Trust, it's the only Hull-based organisation that helps those living with HIV.
What would you say to those who have never attended a Pride event?
Come along with an open mind and embrace something new. Pride in Hull is for everyone, not just for the LGBT community. It's for LGBT families, their friends and allies. Everybody is welcome. Come and see a wide range of different entertainment that you may not usually see in Hull. At the end of the day, it's a celebration of diversity and the last fifty years of freedom.
The Pride in Hull Parade is completely free. For more information and to find out more about the subsequent LGBT 50 events, please visit the Hull 2017 website.
For the cheapest fares, no booking fees and free 4G Wi-Fi, book your trip to the UK City of Culture with Hull Trains today.