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Watford to host first Hertfordshire gay pride festival
Thousands of people are expected to descend on Cassiobury Park this weekend as Watford hosts the first major gay pride festival in Hertfordshire.
Herts Pride will see a host of events such as fun fair rides, market stalls and drag acts to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the county.
The festival has been two years in the planning and organisers hope they can make it an annual event in the town.
Tyson Martin, chairman of the Herts Pride committee, said the event has been worked on by the organisations such as Hertfordshire County Council and Watford Community Housing Trust, which make up the Hertfordshire LGBT Partnership.
However he said the event had already attracted many sponsors and was gaining a momentum of its own in recent months.
He said: "I am just overwhelmed by the support and I am really grateful for that.
"It is about equality, it is about the LGBT community, it is about meeting challenges as there are still inequalities in society on grounds of sexual orientation and ethnicity. I hope it is about breaking down those barriers that people face in society."
Mr Martin, who works for Watford Community Housing Trust and lives in Bushey, said he felt the event could also provide economic benefits for the area.
He said: "I think it is really good for Watford and Hertfordshire as well. People mention the pink pound and I know we are going through financial difficulty, but with the LGBT community I think there is an opportunity for companies to attract new customers who are quite loyal."
The majority of the festival will be family friendly, however the Glam Marquee will be over 18 due to alcohol and the adult humour of some of drag acts.
As well as entertainment Herts Pride will also have statutory and voluntary bodies advertising about their services on everything from sexual health to smoking cessation Representatives from Hertfordshire registration offices will be there with information about civil partnerships and gay marriage.
Mr Martin said the committee had chosen Watford to host the event due to its transport links and said he hoped event would happen again next year.
He added: "We researched where the best place to hold it was and Watford has good transport links so that’s why we chose Watford.
"We are hoping to attract around three to five thousand people to the event. The wrist bands (for the event) have sold really well and we have around 600 followers on Facebook and around 700 on Twitter."
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