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After a few false starts, due to the pandemic and lockdowns, the first Arran Pride celebration will finally take place next month.
With celebrations starting just after noon until late in the evening on Saturday June 4, the purpose of the day is to celebrate the wide diversity of the Arran community, as well as to inform and educate on LGBTQ+ issues.
It was 50 years ago that the first UK Pride march took place in London to raise awareness of the gay community and to try to put right some of the inequalities experienced by them. It has not always been easy but the success of the movement has gone from strength to strength and Pride now encompasses the whole spectrum of those previously marginalised and celebrates their diversity and the LGBTQ+ contribution to society.
Closer to home, the first major Pride Festival in Scotland was on June 17, 1995, and was held in Edinburgh, where 3,000 people marched from Broughton Street, up the Mound, to the Meadows. On that occasion the parade was led by the wonderful female drum band Sheboom, who will be leading the Arran Pride parade this year.
Leading up to the day itself there will be a competition for the best dressed business Pride window in Brodick, with the winner being presented with a unique and beautiful piece of stained glass, made by Kez Glass and Ceramics from Arran, to display for a year.
The programme for the day will be as follows: Grand parade from 12.30pm where participants will parade along Brodick seafront, led by the amazing drums of Sheboom, with the superb Isle of Arran Pipe Band at the end of the procession. Participants will include minister for equalities and older people, Christina McKelvie, the new Arran Councillor, Timothy Billings, as well as representatives from LGBTQ+ groups, Arran Youth Foundation, The Scottish Ambulance Service, RNLI, Health and Social Care Partnership, the Green Party, Unison and Out In Unison, Equality Network, Terrence Higgins Trust and The Educational Institute for Scotland, Waverley Care, as well as enthusiastic members of the public. Participants and spectators are encouraged to wear their most colourful/outrageous outfits or simply wave a flag. All are welcome to gather from midday in Market Road, Brodick.
This will be followed by the Picnic in the Park from 1-4pm where people can take a picnic and enjoy a laid back afternoon in the park at Brodick Hall. There will be music from Arran High School and the Arran Music School, other local talent, and a selection of information stalls and Pride merchandise in the library and a chance to hear stories from the Peoples Library. This is a family friendly, alcohol-free event.
In the evening there will be a celebration ceilidh from 7.30pm to midnight. Tickets are available from Arran Fine Foods Factory Shop in Lamlash, Arran Coffee in Brodick and the big Co-op in Brodick. The fantastic Boathouse Ceilidh Band and the 1934 bar from Kilmory will help you get in the mood to dance the night away.
The Arran Pride committee have held awareness days at the big Co-op in Brodick to raise money towards the event and thank all those who supported them and came or contributed to these, as well as the generous donations from the National Lottery, CalMac, Unison, The Co-op and the Educational Institute for Scotland.
As well as making Arran Pride an annual event, the committee also intends to hold various events throughout the year to help create a network for those who may need help, advice or support.
Organisers can be contacted by emailing: email@example.com, on Facebook at Arran Pride or on Instagram at arranpridegmail.com7