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    First Published: Before August 2002
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
Manchester Gayfest is the largest and most ambitious Pride event outside London this year. As you'd expect from the city that spawned Queer As Folk, Mancs know how to party and with a far more supportive City Council and Police than practically anywhere else in the country, this looks like a wonderful place to be over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Here's a rundown of the major events:

THURSDAY 23rd AUGUST

Tree of Life Awards Dinner
A gala event at Manchester Town Hall. Forty Lord Mayors and Mayoresses at the most prestigious HIV/AIDS awards of the year.
"Legends" Grand Opening Party
The first night of the new super club with chart toppers Supersister

FRIDAY 24th AUGUST

Opening Parade
The Village parading around the village! This is our community opening parade to signal the start of Gayfest 2001
Official Opening Ceremony
A short opening ceremony on the stage in the Gayfest Village Entertainment Compound to start the event, and then let the parties commence! Followed by the Firework Ceremony.

SATURDAY 25th AUGUST

The Gayfest Grand Parade
The largest street parade in Europe, with crazy floats and something different every minute.

Main Stage Show
Including a disco, musicians, acts, the Prairie Dogs Hoe Down and the Mr Gay UK Final!
The LGF Health Expo
(Sackville Park and Shena Simon College) - For your healthy well-being.
Uni-Challenge
(Manchester University and The Ritz - 10pm - 10am). The ultimate combination of clubbing institutions for a party of truly epic proportions.
The Legendary Lavender Ball
(Palace Hotel) - Get the tiaras out again girls, the big one is back with a bona fide night of fabularity. Featuring the Roly-Polys and Handbag of Harmonies.

SUNDAY 26th AUGUST

Battle Of The Drag Queens
From 2pm in the Village Entertainment Compound. The ultimate spectacle... which drag queen will win? Followed by disco and cabaret.
The Pinkworks
(The Printworks) The successor to the famous Treat in the Street, and the biggest event of the weekend. 10,000 people, 15 dance arenas and cabaret galore. BIG pop and dance names and some surprise guest appearances!
The National HIV/Aids Candlelight Vigil
(Castlefield Arena) - What it's all about - The only national vigil in the UK to celebrate the lives of those affected by HIV and AIDS.

MONDAY 27th AUGUST

Family Fun Day
Fun, games, prizes and a wealth of fabulous cabaret in the Village Entertainment Compound including Topping & Butch and the Boy George Experience.
The Final Blowout Party
(Legends - 8pm to 2am) - Shimmy & shake to see Gayfest 2001 off with a bang!

HISTORY OF MANCHESTER GAYFEST

The first major Manchester Pride Event was held in the early 1990's and called Absolutely Fabulous. It was organised by the ill fated Village Charity and began on the Friday of the Bank Holiday weekend with the opening ceromony in Sackville Park and the crowning of the Carnival Queen. Saturday had the carnival Parade led by a memorial floral float as a tribute to those who have died of AIDS. After the parade there was an inter pubs 'Its A Knockout Competition', a fun fair on Bloom Street's NCP car park, The Village Charity Shop staged 4x10 minute 'fashion shows', and there was a womens only disco in the health tent. Sunday started off with a religious service followed by the Picnic In The Park, an all day disco, and an all star cabaret. Monday saw surprise artistes take to the main stage in Sackville Park and in the evening there was a candlelight vigil and firework display.

The event grew from this every year but soon it was discovered that after paying all the creditors, no money was left over for the charities. So in 2000 they invented a new name, a new committee but with the old virtues. Last year's event raised more than 100,000 for charities like: Manchester Lesbian and Gay Foundation, The George House Trust. Body Positive North West, YLGB Peer Support Project, Manchester Parents Group, Black Sexual Health Services and the Cruz Group of Venues.

 

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