‘Pride will return next year bigger and better’

Enjoying Larne Pride festival. Pics by Pacemaker.
Enjoying Larne Pride festival. Pics by Pacemaker.
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More than 2,000 people attended Larne’s first Pride event which will return bigger and better in 2020, organiser Chris McNaghten has stated.

The Olderfleet Bar was the venue for the festival which included fairground rides and attractions, performances from The Music Yard and Irish dancing on Saturday afternoon and music and performances by drag artists in the evening.

Enjoying Larne Pride festival.

Enjoying Larne Pride festival.

Chris said: “The event turned out to be a massive success, both the daytime event and night-time were heavily supported. Over 2,000 people attended the Pride celebrations.

“Visitors were mainly from the Larne area but others travelled from across Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Republic of Ireland.

“The event will return in 2020 bigger and better. I’d like to thank the Olderfleet Bar for helping make this possible, to all the sponsors and the amazing support from everyone in Larne.”

Mid and East Antrim Alliance Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna described the day as “historic”.

Enjoying Larne Pride festival.

Enjoying Larne Pride festival.

Gerardine said: “I was there all day and all night. There was an amazing, uplifting positive buzz about it. It was absolutely fantastic. There was a real festival atmosphere.

“Everybody I was talking to said how great it was. I felt very proud of Larne.

“It was such a historic day for Larne. Well done to Chris McNaghten.

“It was just very positive and great to see it. There is a lot of scope for it to be expanded next year.”

Ald Mulvenna went on to say that the Alliance Party will be putting forward a motion to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council next month calling for a rainbow-coloured flag to be flown from council buildings in support of Pride during next year’s event.

Commenting on the festival, Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said: “Congratulations to all involved. Larne is just more inclusive today as a result.”

Councillor Danny Donnelly added: “What Chris has done for the town is huge and the town came out in support.”

Larne Football Club also showed support for the first Pride event to be held in the town with players wearing rainbow coloured laces dueing Saturday’s match against Ballymena United at Inver Park.

Larne FC chairman Gareth Clements explained: “We believe it is important to show support for this event to celebrate diversity and inclusion within our town.

“It is important that we promote equality and inclusiveness in football as a valued part of our sporting fabric.”