Pride participants are told: #ExpressyourselfLimerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Last year's Pride Parade in Limerick was also a colourful affair, with a parade sweeping the city's streets in August. Picture: Gareth Williams
LIMERICK city’s week-long Pride festival will get underway this weekend, starting with the staging of the annual Mr and Mrs Gay Limerick competition.

LIMERICK city’s week-long Pride festival will get underway this weekend, starting with the staging of the annual Mr and Mrs Gay Limerick competition.

The contest will take place at the Pery Hotel from 9pm on Saturday night. Tickets to the curtain-raiser cost €10, and once the winners have been crowned, Paul Ryder and Regina George will take to the decks for a huge party.

Meanwhile on Tuesday night, the festival will formally be launched with a champagne reception in Stroker’s bar, William Street.

The centrepiece of the festival takes place on Saturday, July 18, with the parade sweeping through the city centre.

Gathering outside City Hall at 2pm and leaving at 3pm, the parade will make its way up O’Connell Street, across Mallow Street, to Henry Street, and past Arthur’s Quay before it returns to the council’s headquarters.

Expected to be bright, and colourful, the celebration will be led by acclaimed local actor Myles Breen.

The organisers hope this year’s Pride festival will show Limerick as being one of the most inclusive cities in Ireland. Lisa Daly, part of the committee, said: “This past year the Irish LGBT community has received resounding support from the wider Irish community in their support of equal rights and marriage equality so this will be reflected in this year’s Pride Parade. We will celebrate our freedom and the opportunity we have been given as a community to develop the concept of the family unit within our community.”

It will be followed by PrideFest 2015 in the Orchard Bar, which is a showcase of LGBT culture in Limerick.

As well as the parade, there will be a variety of daily activities leading up to the main event, from educational workshops and discussions to music and club nights.

Meanwhile, award-winning wedding planner Sharon McMeel is to host a {http://theprideweddingshow.com|wedding fair|click here} on Wednesday July 15 at the Strand Hotel, as part of the festival.

It’s the second consecutive year the fair has taken place, and Sharon said: “We’ll have different suppliers and vendors there, so all couples regardless of their sexual orientation will have a good opportunity to get answers to their important questions if they are considering getting married.”

She added that the recent Yes vote had led to many engagements on referendum day.

“It’s great to be able to look out for all the people who have gotten newly engaged,” Sharon said.

A full line-up for the festival can be found at Limerick Pride with updates on Facebook. The organisers are asking those taking part to tag their photos and comments about Pride2015 using the hashtag #ExpressYourselfLimerick.