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Saturday, 31 August, 2002, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Mardi Gras 'gay event of the year'
Mardi Gras
Thousands of revellers are expected at the festival
A carnival of fun took place in Cardiff on Saturday when the annual lesbian and gay Mardi Gras was held.

More than 30,000 people - many in fancy dress - attended the event in the grounds of Cardiff Castle.

Cardiff Mardi Gras crowds
Crowd sizes have doubled every year

It was hailed by organisers, as the national gay event of the year, after similar festivals in London, Manchester and Bournemouth suffered financial and licensing problems.

This was the fourth Mardi Gras to be held in Cardiff and organisers expected to attract record crowds to indulge in a range of entertainment.

Organisers hoped the event would help celebrate diversity and promote the city as one of the safest capitals in Europe.

Haydn Price, marketing officer for the project said: "This is an event for everyone and we want the young and old to come along and enjoy the day.


The event is promote Cardiff as an all inclusive safe city where everyone is equal

Haydn Price

"There is always a brilliant atmosphere and a lot of people turn up in fancy dress.

"We are expecting people from all over the UK to attend.

"The event is promote Cardiff as an all inclusive safe city where everyone is equal," he added.

The Cardiff Mardi Gras has grown at a dizzy rate since the first event in 1999.

Then, the colourful celebration of gender freedom drew 5,000 people and crowd sizes have doubled every year since.

Drag queen at Cardiff Mardi Gras
People dress up for the event

The festival cost £50,000 to organise and is now established as one of the top gay events in the UK.

As well as cabaret and pop acts, there was a funfair, a market place, bars and food outlets to entertain people.

There was also a Red Devil Challenge, a crèche and children's play area and a disabled viewing platform.

Gay venues around the city hosted night-time events to coincide with the festival.


More news from south east Wales
See also:

22 Aug 02 | England
22 Aug 02 | England
01 Sep 01 | Wales
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