PRIDE celebrations will return to Darlington town centre in August.
Plans for Darlington Pride Weekender have been revealed and three days of celebrations will take place across the town.
From Saturday, August 7 to Monday, August 9, Darlington will celebrate its LGBTQI+ community with live performances, special guests and a whole host of activities for all ages.
The free, family-friendly event is being led by Darlington Borough Council and a group of volunteers, with evening celebrations programmed by bar owners. This year’s sponsors include London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and Newcastle Building Society.
On Saturday 7 August, there will be live bands, speeches, tribute acts, kids activities, information stalls and a variety of performances, including from Darlington Operatic Society, Majestic Theatre and Tracks Darlington in the Market Square from 12pm-6pm.
Special guests include Attitude Pride Award 2021 winner Olly Pike, BBC’s RuPaul Drag Race UK winner Lawrence Chaney, and hosts; TV and radio presenter Dan Westwood, singer and radio presenter Sam Dickinson, and iconic local drag queen Miss Tess Tickle.
There will be prizes and giveaways, and information stalls from the council, local LGBTQI+ organisations, Darlington Police, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Darlington Football Club, counselling support service Arcus, the Alzheimer’s Society, NHS and more.
On Sunday 8 August, ‘Picnic in the Park’ will take place with acoustic musicians, story time for kids, a family Rainbow Trail and a performance from Voices of Darlington at South Park, 12pm-3pm.
On Monday 9 August, the town’s traditional Gay Pride night will return to Blackwellgate and in town centre bars, including special guests and themed events from 5pm until late.
Councillor Darrien Wright, Darlington Borough Council’s LBGTQI+ ambassador, said: “We can’t wait for a weekend full of fun and colourful festivities. This brilliant, jam-packed three day event is an important celebration of inclusion and diversity in our town. Pride is about promoting equality, increasing LGBTQI+ visibility, eliminating discrimination and coming together to not only celebrate but educate. We’re proud to unite in solidarity and as the first council’s LGBTQI+ ambassador, I want to push our town to be at the forefront of the new generation.
“Special mention goes to our sponsors, LNER and Newcastle Building Society, without which, this event wouldn’t be possible.”
David Horne, managing director at LNER, said: “We are committed to creating an inclusive business where our people feel able to be themselves at work. We’re therefore delighted to be involved in the return of Darlington Pride. It’s a brilliant way for us to demonstrate our support for all the community and to help our customers and employees get involved in the celebrations.”
Sarah Colvil, area manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Darlington branch, said: “We’re committed to supporting the community in town, so we’re delighted to be able to sponsor the Darlington Pride Weekender and the LGBTQI+ community. The last 18 months have been a real challenge and although the Pride Weekender went digital last year, we all know there’s nothing better than celebrating in person, so I can’t wait for it.”
For all the latest news and information about the event, visit: facebook.com/darloprideweekender