Shetland is preparing to host its first ever Pride Festival this weekend.
The 13-hour event will kick-off with a parade from Market Cross at 11am on Saturday and end with a sold out Pride Party that will run until midnight.
Gilbertson Park will host a Pride Village between 12pm and 5pm before the party at Islesburgh Community Centre begins.
The village will have stalls, exhibitors, a marquee, DJ, bouncy castles and food vendors, while the parade will feature the Lerwick Jarls Squad’s galley, Bigton’s Samba Band, 30 dancers, local organisations and charities.
Three drag artists coming from Glasgow will also feature on a float before performing at the Pride Party later in the evening.
All 200 hundreds tickets for the party have sold out.
The founder of Shetland Pride, Kerrie Meyer said, “Promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity is really important for people in the LGBTQ+ community.
“Folk have been super in Shetland with many local firms donating their time and generosity.
“Businesses who are supporting Pride are fully aware that many of their customers are LGBTQ and are eager to
show their support.
“Our Pride now joins 27 other Pride’s in Scotland and shows the whole community we not only exist, we are here to stay and that we share the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.”
The Pride Village at Gibby Park is free and will be open all day.
The Pride committee will also be selling LGBTQ+ merchandise and souvenirs and during the run up to the Pride Festival at 135 Commercial Street.
Kerrie first had the idea to organise a Shetland Pride after her wife Diane suddenly passed away in late 2020.
She said: “Shetland’s first Pride is going to be awesome. We’ve confirmed many people are coming up from the mainland to attend, and also as far away as Norway and Australia!”
Shetland Pride is also a registered charity and received funding from the Lottery Community Fund along with many corporate and local sponsors who are eager to support Pride, LGBTQ+ and the event.
The Pride committee created a short film by Chris Harris which has been shared on YouTube called “The Cookie – Acceptance is Everything”, which spreads the message of the meaning of Pride, focusing on mental health, equality diversity and inclusivity.
Local bands including Zdenka, The Fiction and the Dirty Lemons will play at Isleburgh Community Centre from 7pm until midnight.
Additional performances will come from professional drag artists Rujazzle and Lily Minogue, alongside burlesque dancer Roxy Stardust, while Kaela and Astryd Jamieson will play traditional Shetland Folk music.
Kerrie continued: “You don’t have to be LGBTQ+ to attend. Most people know someone who is LGBTQ+ so I encourage the whole island to join in.
“Everyone is welcome. We are aware that homophobia and transphobia sadly still exists, so we have licenced security personnel and police presence during the events.”
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