• Manbears Manchester

High heels and Deep Space- Manbears at Manchester Pride 2019

August Bank Holiday brings the annual celebration of Pride to Manchester and once again Manbears took part in some of the various events over the weekend.

This year we got things off to a fun start when we decided to enter a team into the 'It's a Knockout' competition organised by New York New York bar. Not having competed before, we weren't sure what to expect so a team comprised of Manbears committee members, bear buddies and their friends nervously assembled in the bar wearing our not-so-subtle yellow shirts and waited for the games to commence.

We got off to a pretty good start with the Egg and spoon race, with the added twist of having to wear high heels whilst doing it. Wes earned us our first few points by admirably being able to actually finish the course.

What followed was several hours of good-natured competitiveness as we took part in games ranging from tossing sausages into a hoop and a dildo relay. We did really well, staying in second position until the last game when sadly we dropped to third so we missed out on taking part in the tug-of-war final. Nevertheless we had a fun evening and really enjoyed the atmosphere. Hopefully next year we can do a little better!

With a day to rest and recuperate, it was then time for the main event of the weekend, the Pride parade. This year the theme was 'Deep Space Pride; the future of equality' and we had made sure we got our application in early as every year more and more groups want to take part and places get taken quickly. Having decided on a walking entry, we had to assemble with all the hundreds of participants in the Roman Gardens off Castlefield. When we arrived they were still getting ready and the gardens soon filled up, to the point where it was very hard to move around. We had a few hours to prepare ourselves. In keeping with the 'future Pride' theme, I had prepared a few arches to carry bearing stars with phrases that we hoped would come true in the future.

The centrepiece of our entry was a giant bear pride flag which some of you may have seen flying over the street during Bear Bash, kindly loaned to us by Tracey at New York New York and we all wore vivid blue t-shirts with a picture of the Great Bear constellation again in keeping with the Deep Space theme.

After several hours waiting in the sun (yes, it was actually sunny for once!) we were ready to set-off. As usual the atmosphere through the city was amazing and as always I got goosebumps as we rounded the first corner onto Deansgate and got the cheers off the crowds. The lovely weather had brought out more people than usual and there were hundreds lining the streets. At times the crowds had spilled onto the road and it was almost impossible to get past. As we paraded, Aaron and his team carrying the giant flag got the best response as they swirled it around and made giant waves with it, encouraging people to run under it. Top marks also went to Pawel, Steve and Matthew who made their own space suits and not only wore them for the parade but also all the way home again afterwards!

Walking the route took about an hour but it seems to go far quicker than that and always seems over too soon. Everyone who took part had a fantastic time and have said they can't wait to do it again next year! We can't wait either and as soon as Pride confirm our entry we'll be putting out the form for participants. Maybe next year we'll do a float again though this will depend on getting a vehicle and people who are willing to help in the preparation in the weeks before.

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