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Manchester Pride 2012 – 17-27 August

After the World Pride fiasco, Manchester Pride is now the focal point to restore faith in the idea of Gay Pride.  Year in and year out, the organisers have always pulled out all the stops to provide the colourful and glamorous crowds that descend on the city over this celebratory period with unsurpassed, top-line entertainment. This year, and in conjunction with G-A-Y, the headlining act of the Big Weekend is none other than Steps . The reformed ‘super pop band’, who have recently been seen filling arenas all over the country as they gave the fans just what they’ve craved since the bands untimely demise, a superb, even better than before, showcase for all their fabulous hits. Put on your dancing shoes, remember those steps to Steps and glory in a band who seemed to be created just for such an audience.

Big name acts aside, Manchester Pride has even more events taking place. With over 40 acts adding their talent to the Pride Fringe taking place across the city from 17-23 August .

Of course, Manchester wears its heart on its sleeve as the carnival parade takes over the city streets around the gay village and beyond. Thousands of spectators – young and old, gay and straight, friends and family – throng the pavements to see the glamorous and the outrageously fabulous people who take part! This year the parade is on Saturday 25 August and will celebrate all things Blighty with a ‘Queer’d Science’ theme.

Meanwhile,  Sackville Gardens, home to the Alan Turing statue, hosts several events from live bands, comedy and for those with a classical bent… a Proms In The Park, where Arch Ensembles Orchestra perform modern pop with a twist, you can dance to your favourite musicals and wave your flags along to British classics

The Lifestyle Expo is an undercover outdoor exhibition space designed for you to access resources and information about community groups, your health, sports clubs, legal advice, travel and much more. There are usually over 55 exhibitors so make sure you put aside some time over the weekend to visit in the area.

The Village Market is an amazing chance to have a shop and pick up some treats to remind you and your friends of the Big Weekend! From organic clothing, hand-made jewellery to confectionary and clubwear you’ll be sure to find something that catches your eye!

The one thing that Manchester Pride is rightly proud of is the moment when we remember. The culmination of the Big Weekend is the George House Trust Candlelit Vigil in which Sackville Gardens is turned into a sea of flickering candles as we take a minute to remember those we’ve lost to the HIV virus and join together to fight the epidemic worldwide.

The Vigil is the spiritual heart of the Manchester Pride festival and there is a truly magical and moving atmosphere of quiet reflection in the gardens. A Big Weekend wristband is not required to attend the Vigil, however, the capacity of the site is limited and we would strongly advise that you arrive early to avoid any disappointment.

Images: Manchester Pride