Five leading local drag-queens perform for the festival-goers Photo: Ray Duff

Words and pictures by Ray Duff – Folkestone was filled with rainbow colours and joy as thousands of people joined the LGBTQIA+ Pride event on Saturday (29 July 2023).

The event, which was the first since the pandemic, celebrated the diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies.

The parade starts from the Town Hall led by Deputy Mayor Abena Akkufo-Kelly and Dita Garbo Photo: Ray Duff

The festivities began with a parade that started from the Town Hall and made its way to the Leas Bandstand. The parade was led by local drag queen Dita Garbo and Deputy Mayor Abena Akuffo-Kelly, who waved to the cheering crowds. Many participants wore colourful costumes and carried banners that expressed their pride and support.

Just some of the revelers on the long parade through the town centre Photo: Ray Duff

At the bandstand, the party continued with a variety of performances by drag queens, singers, choirs, poets, and more. People enjoyed picnics on the grass and browsed the stalls and food vendors that lined the area. The event also featured speeches by LGBTQIA+ activists and community leaders who highlighted the achievements and challenges of the LGBTQIA+ movement.

The Deputy Mayor and Dita Garbo officially launch the Pride 2023 festivities Photo: Ray Duff

The fun did not stop there, as the evening saw a Pride after-party at the Leas Cliff Hall, as well as other Pride-themed events at different venues around the town.

The market stalls were well attended Photo: Ray Duff

The event proved to be a huge success, with many attendees praising the organisers and expressing their gratitude for being able to celebrate their identity and culture in a safe and welcoming environment.

The Leas lawns were packed with picnicking festival-goers Photo: Ray Duff

Folkestone Pride was also a testament to the progress and acceptance that the LGBTQIA+ community has gained in Folkestone and beyond. As one of the organisers said, “We are proud to be part of this town that embraces diversity and inclusion, and we hope that this event will inspire more people to join us in our journey of love and equality.”

Revelers watch the bandstand performers Photo: Ray Duff

By Ed

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