South takes Pride in festival involvement

By Stephen McVey

S outh Belfast is getting involved in the entertainment for this year’s Belfast Pride festival. Local pubs and parks are just some of the places where people can participate in the nine-day event that runs until August 4th.

Ormeau Park has got things off and running as it played host to an afternoon of family entertainment and sporting contests on Sunday July 29th. A Poc Fada Hurling Competition, giant inflatable fun challenges and a 5-a-Pride Soccer Competition were some of the attractions that took place.

Simon Rea, committee member for Belfast Pride, commented on Pride’s traditional roots in the area.

“Belfast Pride has held a long relationship with South Belfast dating back to the very first Pride parade 22 years ago when the parade route went up as far as Botanic Gardens.

“In recent years we have received great support from businesses in the area, such as Botanic Inns and we have collaborated with arts organisations to showcase films and theatrical performances,” he said.

A number of Botanic Inns venues will be supporting Belfast Pride, with a range of fundraising events taking place. A club night at Scratch, just off Botanic Avenue, will be held on Saturday 4th August.

Stephen Magorrian of Botanic Inns said he is proud to be able to contribute to the event.

“We are really looking forward to being involved in the Pride Festival this year and the annual parade on Saturday 4th August is set to be bigger and better than ever,” he said.

The Northern Whig, part of the Botanic Inns group has developed an exclusive cocktail called ‘Cherry Chapstick’, which will be sold as part of Belfast Pride 2012 festival. £1 from each cocktail sold will go towards the Pride charity.

Mr Magorrian said Pride is now established as one of the most popular outings in the year.

“Belfast pride has become another great day in the calendar and an increasingly exciting day in the South Belfast area. It is a colourful event that we are proud to be able to support.”

The Lyric Theatre in Stranmillis, will also be supporting the festival through two theatrical pieces this year and Richard Croxford, Lyric Artistic Director, feels the company are building up a successful relationship with Pride.

“The Lyric has provided audiences with an outstanding, wide-ranging and diverse cultural repertoire for over 60 years. We are delighted to now be including quality artistic events as part of Belfast’s Gay Pride in our programme. We look forward to building on our association with Pride in the future.”

Such support in South Belfast has drawn praise from organiser Simon Rea.

“Many of our LGBT community enjoy the cosmopolitan and bohemian culture this area of the city has to offer and it provides a welcoming atmosphere to live, socialise, work and study,” he said.

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