Up to 500 revellers are expected in Winchester on Saturday 23 February for the fifth annual Hampshire Pride parade, which celebrates diversity in the county every February. For the first time, this year, rolling road closures in Winchester will allow the parade to weave through the city centre in a celebration of LGBT+ inclusivity, solidarity and community.
Festival goers will assemble at the Great Hall from 12pm where there will be live music from the Busking Society and Gay Men’s Chorus to get people into the spirit of the event. Families are welcome to come along and join in with the festivities and there will be a library corner and circus skills to entertain the children.
The parade will leave the Great Hall shortly after 2pm and make its way down Jewry Street and the North Walls before passing down Parchment Street to go down to the King Alfred Statue. The procession will then move back up the High Street to the Cathedral’s Outer Close before passing through the Square and back up the High Street to finish at the Castle where people can connect with local support groups and health services at the Market Place.
The parade is expected to be an impressive display of unity and acceptance, with people travelling from across the region to take part, accompanied by drummers and a samba band to add to the party atmosphere. People are encouraged to wave flags and banners and can either bring their own or purchase them from the festival
organisers on the day.
Hampshire Pride Chair and Festival Director, Sarah-Louise Collins said:
We’re very excited to welcome visitors to Winchester this Saturday for the fifth Hampshire Pride. With the new assembly at the Great Hall and route through the city, we are embarking on a new era for Hampshire Pride where more people than ever before can take part in this annual celebration of diversity.
The festival is being sponsored by local property developer and investor, Gentian Partnerships Ltd.
Nick Ekins, Managing Director of Gentian Partnerships Ltd explained:
As a local business based in central Winchester with several projects across Hampshire, we are delighted to be supporting the local community with Hampshire Pride. We hope everyone has a fantastic day in this celebration of inclusivity and solidarity.
Other local businesses are getting involved and showing their support with Chococo and Piecaramba selling
refreshments to the crowds and competition prizes being provided by other businesses such as Sainsbury’s and Cabinet Rooms. The festival finishes with the Black & White “after party” from 8pm at the Vault, Winchester Student Union, where festival goers will be able to party the night away to a DJ and live music acts. Tickets are available for £5 each on the Hampshire Pride website.
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Photo: Hampshire Pride 2018 Credit Mike Hall / Amazing Image Co