THE city centre is to become a celebration zone on Saturday as thousands of people of all ages are welcomed to Chester Pride.

Chester Pride, now in its fifth year, will be held in Castle Square, starting with a parade at midday and culminating with official after parties at venues throughout the city centre.

This year, the theme of Chester Pride is lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history. There will be a pop up exhibition ‘Pride in the Past’ that explores the lives and experiences of LGBT people from Roman times through to the present day in Cheshire.

There will be music throughout the day, from acts such as B*Witched, Sonia and Saffron from Republica, on the M&S Bank sponsored main stage.

There will also be zones for younger children and teenagers as well as a market place and a health and well-being zone.

In a welcoming statement, directors Helen Pickin-Jones and David Redpath-Smith said: “When we started on our journey we were unsure how well Pride would be received and for how long it would survive, but we have been fortunate to have fantastic support from our local authority, public sector services, local organisations, businesses, volunteers, and of course everyone who comes along each year. We thank you for helping us to not only remain a key event in the city, but to grow and cater for the diversity within the LGBT+ community and our allies.

“Of course this year marks an important date in our shared history, as England and Wales observes the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act which decriminalised homosexual acts in private and between two men aged 21 or over. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the age of consent was equalised to 16, and there is still work to do in the UK and worldwide.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council is one of the main supporters of Chester Pride.

Cllr Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “On behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council, I am delighted to welcome you to the historic city of Chester to celebrate Pride on its fifth consecutive year.

“A number of rainbow flags are flying proudly across our city and throughout our borough this weekend. This is a festival that inspires the whole community to embrace inclusion and demonstrates that organisations, businesses and people from all walks of life can join together and celebrate our differences.

“Chester Pride is an example of a community led event that embodies fairness and inclusion - values that are at the heart of Cheshire West and Chester Council. We’re proud to play a part in enabling the enthusiasm and desire to work together that makes Chester Pride such a success.

“The fact that Chester Pride has grown in such a positive way, harnessing the goodwill of so many people, is testament to the efforts of those involved who work so hard to make this event a success year on year. My best wishes for a most enjoyable Pride.

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