Manchester Pride 2010 began today with a Fringe festival of comedy, art, theatre and sport.

More than 40 events will be held in 20 venues ahead of the Big Weekend, which starts next Friday.

The Big Weekend will feature acts such as Kelis, Beverly Knight and Belinda Carlisle and includes the annual pride march through the city centre.

Coronation Street cast and crew will mark the soap’s 50th birthday at the parade.

The festival will close on Bank Holiday Monday with a candlelit vigil at Sackville Park.

Festival director Jackie Crozier said: “I can’t believe that Manchester Pride 2010 is officially upon us. We have so much going on this year, from our new ‘Welcome to my World’ exhibition to Kelis performing on the main stage. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy Pride.”

Tickets for the Big Weekend cost £17.50 and are available from Manchester Pride’s website or at venues across the city.