Canterbury Pride is kicking off this weekend, with its vibrant parade and world-famous acts expected to draw crowds of 25,000.
Organizers behind the huge LGBTQ+ celebration say this year’s festival – featuring Baga Chipz and Denise van Outen in a star-studded line-up – will be the best and biggest yet.
Here’s everything you need to know…
When is it happening?
Canterbury Pride is taking place this Saturday (June 11).
The day kicks off at 11.30am with a colorful Pride Parade through Canterbury High Street.
Soak up the carnival atmosphere and cheer on the procession, which will feature live music, flags and banners, local groups and some “special characters” to look out for.
The Pride fun will then continue at the Dane John Gardens, where festivities are set to run from 11am to 7pm.
A host of star performers will entertain crowds from 12.30pm.
Food and drink stalls will be available, along with entertainment for all ages including various inflatables, and a Pride marketplace.
From 10pm to 3am, the official Pride after-party is taking place at Tokyo Tea Rooms’ hugely popular LGBTQ+ club night Glitterbomb.
Musician Danny Beard will perform, while the 18+ only party also promises “the finest resident drag queens, the Glitterbombshell dancers and non-stop pop”.
Who is performing at Canterbury Pride?
X Factor winner and West End star Alexandra Burke was due to headline this year’s Pride, but has had to pull out at the last minute.
The Bad Boys and Broken Heels singer, who is expecting her first child, was set to perform some of her hits at the Dane John Gardens, but has canceled the appearance as she nears the end of her pregnancy.
However, some of the UK’s favorite tribute acts and best-loved drag queens are set to appear.
The celebration will feature a performance by Baga Chipz, who is best-known for appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World, and a DJ set by Denise Van Outen.
The line-up is also set to include drag performers Jujubee, Vanity Milan and Jimbo, who all appeared in RuPaul shows, along with Lady Gaga impersonator Donna Marie, P!nk tribute Vicky Jackson, and multi-award winning cabaret artist Danny Beard.
A program will be released on the day, listing who is performing and when.
Canterbury Pride entertainment director Stephen Sullivan has described this year’s event as “the biggest line-up we’ve ever put together”.
Do you have to pay, and who can attend?
It is free to watch the Pride Parade.
Taking part in the process is by pre-registration only, but registration is not required for those watching.
Entry to the Dane John Gardens is also free, and open to all ages.
No registration is required, although those wishing to bring dogs must register in advance.
Tickets are required for the after-party at Tokyo Tea Rooms. They can be bought here.
How many people are set to attend?
Since its creation, Canterbury Pride has become one of the city’s biggest crowd-pleasers, drawing in revellers from across the south east.
Previous events have seen more than 20,000 people experience the day at some point.
Mr Sullivan says this weekend’s festival is “absolutely going to be the best Pride yet.
“We’ve been making it better and better each year,” he said.
“In previous years, there were people of all backgrounds and ages, so seeing everyone come together is really, really special. We just can’t wait.
“It’s about LGBTQ+ people coming together, and for some people it’ll be maybe the first time they can really be themselves.
“It’s a chance for people to see they’re not alone and there’s a community out there, and to meet new people.
“Families will also be able to come along and experience the community.”
How to get there
The Dane John Gardens is located within Canterbury’s city walls, just minutes from the High Street and Cathedral.
If coming by car, organizers recommend using one of the city’s three park and ride services, at New Dover Road, Sturry Road or Wincheap – parking there and traveling to and from the city by bus.
The Dane John Gardens are just a couple of minutes’ walk from Canterbury East railway station, and about 15 minutes from Canterbury West.
It is also adjacent to Canterbury Bus Station, which provides good links to the rest of Kent.
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