You are all invited to……Margate Pride

by Leoni Blue


Art & Culture June 1, 2018

You are all invited to……Margate Pride
Pride. A controversial word? If recent reports about London Pride are anything to go by.
What does Pride mean to you?  To me, its an inclusive community gathering; a chance to walk through your town and say, “I am here.” It’s also an opportunity for your town to say, “we love that you are here.” It’s a reflection of the very best that your town can be.

I co-run Margate Pride with artist Dan Chilcott and singer Tommy Poppers. Margate is a tough old beaut, she’s weathered the highs and the lows, and her faded glamour has an eccentric charm that’s easy to fall head over heels for. We love the beautiful coastline. We love the eclectic architecture that speaks of a life well lived. And we love all the exciting new ventures which are opening up around the town the art galleries: studios, bars and cafes.

Margate is a town that speaks to the ‘outsider’. It has a DIY, punk aesthetic that appeals to a plethora of artists and creatives. As co-founder of Sink The Pink, these things are close to my heart, and as you can imagine, close to Margate Pride’s too.

Now in our third year, our pride has built a legacy of being exactly this. It’s alternative, arty, left of centre and sometimes downright weird! It’s DIY (cardboard banners ahoy!) and, above all, very community focused. It is a reflection of the eccentricity of the town in which we live and it’s heart, we feel, is in the right place.

The parade takes around 45 minutes (if we go really slow!), then there’s a short rally, with performers and music. The entire town gets involved with local businesses offering discounts and special events. There are after parties to suit all tastes, and there’s a whole week of fringe events in the run up that showcase everything Margate’s proud of.
Some of my personal highlights have included seeing elderly residents come out of their homes in wheelchairs to greet our parade with smiles and waves, the local bike club came in full costume to ride in solidarity with us and our LGBT+ youth group decorating their float and costumes as their chosen theme of ‘Gayliens’​

It really is a joy rainbow flags appearing in venues all around the town for the weeks running up to our Pride events. It is beautiful​ families coming out to wave; to see an older lady with a sign that reads SURVIVOR; to see mums with decorated prams and dogs in rainbow collars. It’s the authentic spirit of community that makes our pride so special. It may not be shiny, high budget or star studded, but the smiles and laughter speak volumes – it’s a small town with a lot of soul.
Everyone is welcome. If you fancy an alternative to Brighton (which has sold out thanks to Britney) or London (famous for grid locked crowds and losing your friends), then you might want to consider taking the high speed train (90 minutes from London) to join us and build a Pride of which we can all be proud. For all your heart warming, sea swimming, ice cream eating, rainbow waving needs, get August 11th in your diary. Margate Pride embraces you with open arms!

Models: Ray and Lennie of Pink Suits

Body painting and styling Guy Common and Alex Noble

Photos Cherry Bee

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