Harrogate’s first ever Pride in Diversity festival is well underway, boasting a packed programme of events and activities to celebrate the town’s diversity.
Chair of Pride in Diversity, Leonora Wassell, said the committee has been overwhelmed by support for the festival from across the district, and is looking forward to the town coming together for a special parade setting off from Montpellier Hill on Saturday at 12pm.
Leonora said: “We wanted to do something a bit different for the Pride in Diversity festival. Pride started as a political statement, but this isn’t. This is about celebrating everything that is going on already in Harrogate - all of the wonderful community groups and organisations that we have already doing such a good job in championing inclusion and celebrating diversity.
“It is about the LGBT community, but it also goes further than that.
“We have such a diverse community in Harrogate and we need to celebrate it. The festival is something that’s grown organically - when we started, we thought it might just be the ten of us on the committee walking down Montpellier, but we have been overwhelmed by how many people have got involved and come forward to support it, it’s fantastic.
“The feedback we’ve had about the festival has all been really positive, we haven’t had any negative comments which is great. I think everyone is really looking forward to the parade.
“We’ll have a 50 metre high rainbow flag on the day, the atmosphere is going to be really positive, and it’s all very exciting.”
Ahead of the parade, which will have 17 community groups and charities taking part including North Yorkshire Horizons, MESMAC and the Knaresborough Silver Band, the committee has organised an impressive number of events covering a wide range of topics to tie in with the festival.
Here's our round-up of the Pride and Diversity events this week:
Today, Monday - Diversity in Art and Literature, the Crown Hotel, 7-9pm: An evening with poet James Nash, and awards presented to the winners of the festival's art and literature competitions.
Tuesday - Diversity in Action, the Crown Hotel, 7-9pm - An evening with local organisations promoting diversity.
Wednesday - Diversity in Sport, the Crown Hotel, 7-9pm - Confirmed attendees: Professor Gough, talking about masculinity and homophobia, Daniel McGeachie, Head of Communications at Harrogate Town football club; Sarah Williams, former Equality and Diversity Manager for Rugby Football League who now runs Scarlett's Vintage Tea Rooms in Knaresborough; Leeds Hunters, and Kellie Malone.
Thursday - Free cup of tea and vintage tea party at Scarlett's Vintage Tea Rooms in Knaresborough, 4:30pm-6:30pm.
Performing arts and diversity at the Crown Hotel, 7-9pm - An evening celebrating Diversity in song and drama.
Friday - Faithful conversations - Conversations around diversity and faith, with Humanist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian perspectives, at the Crown Hotel, 7-9pm.
Saturday - Pride parade, 12-1pm starting at Montpellier Hill and finishing at the Valley Gardens.
Party in the park at Valley Gardens after the parade, with activities, stalls and face painting. Live music acts include: Reigns, Corey Cooper, Two Tone Rust, Smashby, Leon Marshall, Pauline Quirke Academy, Haus of Dench and Jess Gardham. There will also be an after party at the Viper Rooms from 8pm.