Preparations are now well under way for the ten-day Manchester Pride celebrations in August.

The festival, which will span from August 17 – 27, will involve a parade with over 80 floats.

The 2007 Manchester Pride Parade will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 25 August in Manchester city centre.

This year the Pride team are looking to welcome a range of entrants, from the flamboyant and colourful to the hilarious and entertaining.

You don’t need a big budget to get involved. Some of the most effective entries can be created through simple co-ordinated costumes, props or banners.

The Manchester Pride team are in contact with a number of artists who will be able to advise and support organisations and individuals on costume making, circus skills, float making and other activities.

Jackie Crozier, Festival Manager said: “The city centre comes alive with this event, with spectators in every part of the city, therefore it provides an ideal opportunity for businesses to highlight their activities and to demonstrate their commitment to relations with the LGBT community.”

There will also be a Lifestyle Expo and Pride Market. It will provide everything from rainbow goods and clothing to craft items.

The expo and markets will also provide visitors with information regarding community groups and health and legal advice.

Both the expo and markets will take place throughout the Big Weekend, opening up at 11am on Saturday 25 August and closing at 6pm on Monday 27 May 2007.

Prices start at £412 +VAT for one stall at the Pride Market.

Within the Lifestyle Expo, LGBT or HIV organisations pay £50 for a stand, while prices start at £350 +VAT for commercial organisations.

Festival organisers are inviting social groups, organisations, commercial companies and anyone who wishes to be a part of the festivities to get in touch as soon as possible.

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 29 July.

Information packs and application forms can be obtained by emailing jackie.crozier@manchesterpride.com or by calling 0161 238 4515.

For further information on Manchester Pride visit www.manchesterpride.com