Bolton Pride will return to the town next weekend and organisers say it is set to be an ‘unforgettable’ event despite it being slightly smaller than usual.

 Victoria Square will be the focal of celebrations on Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26 – offering families across the borough the chance to celebrate pride in a safe and fun way.

On the Saturday, the  traditional parade will signal the start of Pride in Bolton, starting at The Sward Building (University of Bolton)  at 11am with registration open from 10am, the parade will make its way through the town centre and over to Victoria Square.

The parade will include local groups, charities, some businesses and vehicles and anyone can sign up as it is free.

On Saturday, from 10am to 6pm and there will be a range of entertainment in the town centre,  with the main stage also returning to the town hall steps.

On the Sunday, Pride will continue in Victoria Square from 10am to 5pm.

Some of the headliner entertainment includes Sami Brookes from The X Factor, Smashby and Kelly Wild, Violet Blonde, Taylor’s Theatre Academy, Bolton All-stars, a mini dog show and more local performers.

The Bolton News: Bolton Pride is returning next weekendBolton Pride is returning next weekend (Image: Bolton Pride)Stars include Maura Jackson doing her comedy gig as the ‘The Feather Fixer’ and Ruby Roo Drag Queen with various drag queens in between.

On both days there will be a range of stallholders including expo stalls for information services and support, makers markets, a bar area and food traders.

There will also be a quiet area in the Museum at Le Mans Crescent.

Bolton Pride Festival director, Kev Wright, and Rob Wright, associate festival director, said they cannot wait to welcome people back to the town for a weekend of great fun and entertainment, despite it being smaller than last year.

Rob said: “We originally planned a bigger event like last year with longer hours up to 11pm and including the Friday but due to major loss of funding due to the financial climate that affected our core funders, we had to scale back and revisit the drawing board and have been able to still focus on the core hours and times.

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“However, we were determined that our fantastic Bolton Community would not suffer, and we are proud that we are able to bring another amazing festival and parade.

“We are working tirelessly to help bring in more partners.

“We’ve recently been working with Bolton College and are excited about helping some students come along and facilitate work experience to be able to gain some excellent confidence and transferable skills that will help them in their future careers.

“Pride now more than ever is important due to what has been going on in the world, with negative sentiments made about transgender and ongoing prejudice that remains.

The Bolton News: Exciting news as Bolton Pride to return next weekendExciting news as Bolton Pride to return next weekend (Image: Bolton Pride)“Next year pride in Bolton will celebrate it’s 10 year birthday so we are hoping we can make it even more spectacular.

“We would like to thank the volunteer information organisations and businesses that continue to support the Pride in Bolton festival and parade and we look forward to continuing to grow while advocating equal rights, reducing hate crime and normalising acceptance.”

Kev added: “I’m pleased we have still been able to deliver an event with the major loss of funding and I hope that more of the community and businesses will get involved for next year so we can continue to put on such an amazing event.

“Unfortunately, with costs going up and everything needing to be paid for, there’s always the risk of Pride not being able to go ahead but we continue to work hard in the background to show the benefits of what Pride means and does for Bolton’s community.”

The Bolton branch of the public service trade union, UNISON is giving its support to Bolton Pride events in the town to celebrate the fight for LGBTQ+ equality.

Andrea Egan, Branch Secretary of Bolton UNISON said: “As members of a large union, with around 1.4 million members, we know that our biggest strength is in solidarity.

“Our union is committed to fully committed to fighting discrimination and prejudice in the workplace and in society.

“It is important to recognise inequality and bigotry across society but also celebrate decades of struggle to secure a fairer and more tolerant world for everyone.

“UNISON stands shoulder to shoulder, with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members and we are delighted to be supporting Bolton Pride.

“This year’s Bolton Pride coincides with the 40th anniversary of the 1984/85 miners’ strike, so it’s excellent that Bolton Trades Council is hosting a free screening of the film Pride in Bolton’s Library Lecture theatre on Saturday 25th May at 2pm.

“It’s a powerful and moving film, based on the true story of solidarity between a lesbian and gay miners’ support group, LGSM with striking miners.

“The film shows the true power of solidarity to break down barriers and transform lives. We are delighted that Mike Jackson one of the founder members LGSM will introduce the film and be available for a question and answer session afterwards.”

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