Warwickshire Pride to be 'biggest and best' festival to date

Warwickshire Pride. Photos submitted.
Warwickshire Pride. Photos submitted.

Organisers behing Leamington’s annual LGBT+ festival are promising this year’s event will be the biggest and best festival to date.

Warwickshire Pride will return to the Pump Room Gardens in Leamington on Saturday (August 17) from 11am to 6pm, which celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) life and culture.

This year’s free festival has a Golden Pride theme to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York that gave birth to the Pride movement and to highlight why Pride still needed in 2019.

There will be stalls, fairground rides, refreshments, a transgender chill out zone, a women’s tent, a bi zone, youth tent and live entertainment.

Headlining the festival is dance music icon Baby D. Other acts include X Factor finalists 2 Shoes and the UK’s first Muslim drag queen, Asifa Lahore.

Local performers include Samuel Turner, Rosa Francesca and Kirsty Wright . The stage will be hosted by Leamington’s drag queen Sassi Afrika and star of Gogglebox, Sandra Martin.

Daniel Browne, Warwickshire Pride’s Chair of Trustees, said: “The festival is now in its seventh year and continues to be recognised as one of the most welcoming and inclusive Pride events in the country.

“We aim to represent the whole LGBT+ spectrum at the festival, but of course anyone is welcome come and join in with the celebrations. There is something for everyone to enjoy, regardless of age, gender identity or sexuality.

“This year’s theme is Golden Pride. We’ll be remembering those who paved the way for our rights and also highlighting why Pride is still needed. Only this week someone has commented on our Facebook page that gay people should be killed. It’s why Pride always was, and still is, a protest.”

Leamington Fire Station will also have one of their trucks on display wrapped in Pride colours at the festival.

Staff and volunteers from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service WFRS) will be sharing information on fire safety, handing out freebies and celebrating the “on-call” recruitment campaign.

By taking part WFRS would like to celebrate with the LGBT+ community and show their support in promoting equality and diversity in Warwickshire, with the aim of eliminating all discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Chief Fire Officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, Kieran Amos, said: “We are proud to be supporting Warwickshire Pride 2019 and I would like to encourage everyone to come along to celebrate with us and to come and take a look at our very special Pride themed fire engine.

"Leamington Fire Station will also be flying the Pride flag throughout the weekend of the event to show their support for the LGBT+ community in Warwickshire.”

Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Fire and Rescue and Community Safety, said: “We would like to encourage visitors to take as many pictures as possible of the celebrations to share across social media and help spread the message of equality and diversity across Warwickshire.

“We hope that by taking part in Warwickshire Pride, all LGBT+ members of our community feel included, safe and supported by WFRS.”

This year’s festival is kindly sponsored by David Wilson Homes, Mister V Street Food, Ubisoft, The Yard, Leamington BID, Sheekie and Appoint Us Services, with support being provided by Leamington based businesses Planet Bong, Collectors Assemble and Thrills of the Emporium.

Funding support has been provided by Leamington Town Council, the Big Lottery Fund, and through donations.

Further information can be found at www.warwickshirepride.co.uk.