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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 August 2005, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Gay festival holds a pink picnic
Manchester Pride
Pride is one of the largest gay festivals in Europe
Gay families and their friends are invited to what organisers call a "pink picnic" as part of this year's Manchester Pride festival.

The festival is one of the largest events in Europe for lesbian, gay and bisexual people and began on Friday with sports tournament the Pride Games.

On Sunday gay couples will gather in Manchester's Sackville Park to watch entertainers and circus acts.

The 10-day festival peaks on bank holiday Saturday with a street parade.

The parade travels from Corporation Street down Cross Street, past the Town Hall and into the gay village around Canal Street.

A swimming event at last year's Manchester Pride
Pride Games events include water polo and football

The main events stage during bank holiday weekend features Graham Norton, Manchester pop star Rowetta, the Cheeky Girls and Four Poofs and a Piano from the BBC Jonathan Ross programme.

Other events in the festival calendar include a lesbian and gay heritage trail, walking willing participants round the city to show them key places for the gay community from the 1800s to the present day.

A celebration event to mark the change in the Civil Partnership Rights law in December will also be held in Sackville Park next Saturday.

To close the festival a candlelit vigil will be held on bank holiday Monday, to pay tribute to those touched by the HIV virus.

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