Liverpool is to hold its first Pride festival on Saturday August 7th.

Until this year, it was the largest city in the country not to hold a Pride celebration, although a gay culture festival, Homotopia, began five years ago.

In the last few years, the city has been marred by several violent attacks on gay people, including the murder of 18-year-old Michael Causer and the attack on gay policeman James Parkes last autumn.

The day will begin with marchers meeting at Georges Plateau at 11.30am. They will set off on a route through Liverpool city centre, which will take in Roe Street, Hood Street, Whitechapel, Lord Street and Castle Street before coming to an end at 1.30pm on the main festival site, Dale Street at Exchange Street East.

The end of the march will be marked with a speech from the main stage, before the live acts on the three stages and the Rainbow Circus-themed celebrations kick off. The line-up will be announced shortly.

Organisers say the 20,000 expected visitors can enjoy a selection of musical acts, street performers, outrageous circus sideshows and a host of market and refreshment stalls, while the event will close with a “top-secret” finale.

Council leader Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool is famed for its diversity and a Pride festival is a welcome addition to our wide range of cultural events. It is vital that we take every opportunity to celebrate and showcase every community and that is why I am delighted that the city council is supporting this festival. It will attract people from far and wide to Liverpool, promoting tolerance and providing an economic boost to the city.”

Local television star and national treasure Paul O’Grady said “About bloody time! Liverpool has finally got its own Pride festival and I know this city knows how to throw a party so I fully expect it to be the best Pride in the country.”

Tommy McIlravey of Liverpool Pride 2010 said: “Our first Pride festival will reinforce Liverpool’s reputation as one of the leading cultural destinations in Europe.

“We have been working closely with the city council and other organisations for a number of months to put together a Pride worthy of Liverpool’s reputation – a Pride which will showcase the diverse nature of life that the city has always had.”

PinkNews.co.uk is a media sponsor of Liverpool Pride 2010.