As the busy work week starts to make the weekend seem like a while ago we wanted to share our weekend highlights and explain why we love Brighton Pride so much!
1) Being hosted by the Florida Keys and Key West at the Pride 2017 Festival at Preston Park. We met the KBC PR team at the VIP entrance, received our wristbands and were whisked inside for an unforgettable experience. On arrival we passed by Moroccan style tents filled with comfy chairs to sit and relax in and at the end of the area was a food stand servicing delicious Mediterranean style food. The easy access to Preston Park's main area was an added benefit, rather than pushing through the crowds we could stroll in and out as we pleased. We were over the moon.
Having the opportunity to find out about the Florida Keys and Key West was also great. I for one didn't know that the area has 10 state parks, including a Coral Reef! Here's some other interesting facts we found out about the subtropical islands:
- It's super LGBT+ friendly and over a quarter of the residents identify as gay or lesbian
- The island chains motto is 'One Human Family' recognition that everyone is created equal
- The average temperature is 25.5 degrees C
- There is pretty much no bad time to visit although April was the suggested 'best time'
- The New Years Eve celebration include a drag queen being lowered in a bright red shoe
- If you are road tripping to the area you will cross 42 bridges
- The area has stunning sunrises and sunsets
- It's only 90 miles from Cuba
- It's famous for snorkelling, fishing, weddings, arts and culture, food and drink
- The area do something called Voluntourism; you can dedicate part of your holiday to volunteering with reef restoration, beach clear ups, helping local wildlife etc
- If you are looking for a beautiful holiday destination, with pretty much guaranteed sunshine and plenty to do then this place should be on your to-do list!
It's fair to say that the Florida Keys team made us feel very welcome, hopefully one day we'll be able to check out the place ourselves - it's certainly on the to do list!
2) The Vibe. I know that sounds cliche but from the moment you arrive in Brighton and see the rainbow flags flying we relax. The entire city, from the smallest of cafes to the biggest of stores embraces Pride. The atmosphere is one of celebration and unity, expect random hugs, people talking to you like you've been friends forever, to be pulled in on random photos and to embrace and accept every type of person. The mixing pot is as real as it can get in Brighton but especially on Pride weekend.
3) The Parade. Like every good Pride the parade is worth watching. The music, the vibrancy, the costumes, we love it all. From the moment the first float appears to the last person walking off we are filled with a sense of Pride. The importance of seeing people just like us will never get boring. The standout of this parade was the services - Ambulance, Police and Fire. With their vehicles in rainbow colours and the teams dancing behind we felt incredible grateful for their service but also their presence - equality in all jobs is so important!
4) Being so close to the beach. Pride can be intense. The crowds are massive, the areas in and around the city centre can be packed and if it's hot - as it was - moving around can be tiring. We took the Pride bus down to the beach to have a bit of respite. You can't say that about many Prides! Once we hit the beach and saw the sea everything calmed down. With the warm sun setting it was a moment to reflect and relax together. We then met up with friends and listened to music while eating fish and chips and watching the occasional naked person attempt a sobering dip in the sea!
5) The Preston Park Experience, as we had managed to secure VIP tickets for our friends Charlotte and Hannah to join us the day was a great girly hang out. We also had Bella from Diva magazine join us as we toured everything the park had to offer. As well as seeing Years and Years and Louisa Johnson perform we visited stands to check out what they were doing for Pride. WKD were there making cocktails, National Trust were there, Barefoot wine were giving out wine and very cool sunglasses, Diva were giving away free mags and there were a whole host of weird and wonderful things to see including a 'feel wood feel good' stand where you got to touch a tree! Then there was the dance tents - Diva World, Men & Bears and the Urban tent, oh and our fav the Cabaret tent.
Exploring the park was great, getting back to the VIP tent was greater - especially when pushing through all the port-a-loo queues! (Thanks again to KBC PR!)
Sad that it's all over for another year but bring on Manchester Pride at the end of August!