Smallest town has 'fabulous' day celebrating Pride

Crowds at Pride
About 1,000 people attended Pride, which was the second time the town has held the event [Mikaela Jade Photography]

The smallest town in England has celebrated Pride with live music, drag comedy, burlesque and inclusive sport.

Manningtree Pride took place on Saturday, with about 1,000 people turning up to support it.

It was the second year the town in Essex, which is just 19 hectares (47 acres) in size, has held a Pride event.

Rowan Hunter, who organised Manningtree Pride, said it was the "most wonderful day full of fun and a lot of laughter".

Rowan Hunter
Rowan Hunter (left), who runs a wine bar and a homewares store in the town, organised the event [Mikaela Jade Photography]
Beach blessing
The event included a special blessing on the beach [Mikaela Jade Photography]
Melodie Muse with children at the workshop
Drag queen Melodie Muse held a Disney-inspired workshop for children [BBC/Charlie Jones]

"It was the most fabulous day, from live music repping unsigned queer artists, delicious frozen margaritas and fierce drag queens, to dancing with sparkly hair and rainbow face paint on the beach," he added.

It was held across 12 locations in the town, including the beach, the fire station, the bookshop Manningtree Arts, Estuary Wine Bar, The Crown, The Yard and the Red Lion.

Bigg Taystee
Bigg Taystee entertained the crowds during a comedy and burlesque show [Mikaela Jade Photography]
Shar Cooterie
Shar Cooterie entertained the audience in Estuary Wine Bar [Mikaela Jade Photography]

Mr Hunter received messages from people who attended the event thanking him for creating a safe and inclusive space, "filled with lots of love".

"I really wanted to showcase that it's not just about the big cities, it's about rural communities as well," he said.

"People are still being victimised because of the person they hold hands with and there is still hate crime, but these events show there is also love and joy and happiness when we all unite. I wanted people to know there are allies out there."

All money raised is being donated to Colchester Kings RFC, which is the first gay and inclusive rugby team in East Anglia, an inclusive singing group called Hic Sumus choir and The Outhouse, a charity that provides opportunities for LGBTQ+ people throughout Essex.

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