Pride Torbay takes place this weekend with more than 20 events taking place across the colourful four day festival of diversity. Things start with a screening of a brand new digital print of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Apollo Cinema in Paignton on Thursday (28th July), followed by a sold out boat trip on the Friday evening (29th July). The official Pride Torbay launch party takes place at Club Rainbow also on the Friday, with an 80’s theme. Things kick off with a very special prize 80’s karaoke party downstairs in the Soda Fountain, before the party moves into the main club with DJ’s Super Sarah and internationally renowned number one remixer Marc JB on the decks. There will also be a host of other fun and surprises including a prize balloon drop at midnight – featuring 99 Red Balloons, obviously.
The main Pride day takes place on the Saturday with the Meadfoot Inn, Rainbow Cafe and Harbour View offering celebration breakfasts, with the latter donating half their takings to the two Pride Torbay charities, Rowcroft Hospice and Eddystone Trust. A Rainbow Walk will then leave Beacon Quay in Torquay at 11am, heralded by a white dove launch, calling for a worldwide end to homophobia. People will each be dressed in one of the six colours of the gay freedom flag to form a human rainbow leading to the main Pride in the Park event at Hollicombe Park (the coast road between Torquay and Paignton). The showcase event of the whole weekend stars the likes of X Factor and Popstar to Operastar winner Joe McElderry, along with Diva Fever, Shaun Smith, The Sundaes, Boy Banned, The DreamBears, Fletch, Chelcee Grimes and the Boy George Experience.
The park will also feature stalls, bars, food outlets and other fun and games including a surf simulator, bucking bronco machine, sumo wrestling, a beat the goalie penalty shootout and a climbing wall. Organisers are keen to point out that the event is open to absolutely everyone who is “open-minded and knows how to have fun.” Tickets will not be available on the gate, but can be purchased (subject to availability) from the Torquay Tourist Information Centre and Harbour View, up to and including the day. The Access All Areas VIP after-party then takes places at The Pavilion in Torquay, offering people the chance to party with the stars of Pride. Tickets include bubbly, nibbles and a great evening of entertainment including outrageous drag from Gini La Rue and Ezmee Too.
Sunday starts with a free gay history and heritage walk (meet at the Pavilion at 11am), followed by a free cream tea event at the Unity Hall on Montpellier Road in the afternoon. Other afternoon events include a pool party at Key West Resort Hotel, Cabaret at the Meadfoot Inn starring Shaz M, Philip Lindon and DJ Teya and a Hollywood themed barbecue party at the Cliff House Hotel. As well as karaoke and an American-style barbecue, the latter also features the world premier of a brand new gay play called Swallow Your Pride. Gay club Candyfloss will also be open on Friday and Saturday night.
A Pride Torbay spokesperson said: “There seems to be a huge buzz about this year’s pride, while it looks like the weather is really going to be on our side. We hope that lots of people come and join us at the park event, regardless of their sexuality as that is very much what pride is about. In this country, we the LGBT community almost has full equality under the law, but now there are issues of perception to address. A scary percentage of young people who are gay or perceived to be gay are still bullied in schools, while many gay couples would still feel uncomfortable with holding hands in the street and other public displays of affection. Homophobia also remains endemic in sports and these are she sorts of issues that need to still be both addressed and tackled. With this in mind, we hope people will come and join in the fun and see that the LGBT community really aren’t all that different. We are fairly sure you will have an amazing time too.”
THURS 28TH JULY
Rocky Horror Picture Show. Apollo Cinema Paignton. 8pm
FRIDAY 29TH JULY
The Show Boat. Sold Out
Karaoke Party. Meadfoot Inn. 9pm onwards
Now That’s What I Call an 80’s Party. Club Rainbow. 10.30pm onwards
Candyfloss Pride Opening Party 10.30pm onwards
SAT 30TH JULY
Rainbow Cafe, Unity Hall. 11am onwards
The Rainbow Walk. Beacon Quay to Hollicombe. Meet 10.30am
Pride in the Park. Hollicombe Park. 12pm – 8pm
Access All Areas. The Pavilion. 10pm onwards
Candyfloss Pride Saturday. 10.30pm onwards
Bear Factory. Key West Resort. 11pm onwards
SUN 31ST JULY
The Heritage Walk. Meet at Pavilion 11am
Free cream tea. Unity Hall, Montpellier Road. 1pm onwards
Barbecue and Pool Party. Key West Resort.
Cliff House Goes to Hollwood. 3pm onwards
Cabaret at The Meadfoot. 4.30pm onwards.