Published: 11:00, 29 August 2015
Huge crowds have gathered in Margate to celebrate Kent Pride 2015.
The seaside town is hosting the colourful parade, with thousands turning out to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
The procession started at 11am in the Lido car park and headed through to Marine Drive, but is only the start of the festivities.
Kent Pride volunteer coordinator Tony Butcher said: "I'm very excited about the day because we have had such a massive response.
"I know it was very short notice after the statement saying it was off last week, but we've stuck all the sticky plasters on and it's all come together.
"At short notice I'm very happy and so is everyone else.
"We've got the fire brigade here, the ambulance service, lots of stalls - what else could we want?
"We've got people from Slovakia, Germany, France and loads of places and they've all come because they've heard what has happened and they want to support it.
"The parade started a bit earlier in the day - Brighton parade doesn't start until late afternoon but we are expecting as the day goes on it will just get busier and busier."
Schools Out is an organisation dedicated to increasing visibility and promoting equality for LGBT people.
Chairman Sue Sanders said: "I live in Broadstairs so I am thrilled we're doing this here in Margate.
"Our aim is to make the LGBT community safe and educate others to 'usualise' LGBT people and challenge homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and prejudice to other groups of people."
Margate’s exclusive gay bar Sundowners will be open from 11am until 3am, with a balloon drop and free facepainting.
It will host Brighton’s own Drag with no Name from 8pm, as as well as a post-Pride karaoke party on Sunday.
Dreamland will be hosting Cockles & Muscles: Sink the Pink Party for over-18s.
Morgan’s Margate will host the Kent Pride 2015 Summer Ball from 8pm until 2am.
And The Lighthouse Bar will have DJs from across the south east, including DJ Discotech, DJ Dexie Lexie, DJ Fioxi and DJ Vesuvio.
Talk of bands of anti-gay protestors at the event have so far proved exaggerated.
Preparations for the parade had been disrupted by a homophobic leafleting campaign, with anti-gay flyers posted through letterboxes across Margate.
The leaflets told people to “save yourself and your children from homosexuality” and not to support Kent Pride.
Police launched an investigation after receiving a number of complaints.
Earlier in the week volunteer coordinator Mr Butcher said: “The comments are absurd.
“I am upset inside that this propaganda is being pushed, and concerned that some people will actually read it and believe it.
“These extremist views are dangerous and inciting.”
More by this authorJames Rose
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