When a friend told us he was attending the launch of this year’s Pride Festival, where the special guest would be fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to tag along for some celebrity-spotting. We couldn’t have imagined how much fun was in store for us that evening, as we joined a couple of hundred others for what was billed as ‘MiniPride’.
MiniPride kicked of the Pride Festival’s two-week programme, with a reception hosted by Brussels City Mayor, Yvan Mayeur, at the Hotel de Ville. As the champagne flowed, we were treated to Gaultier’s vocal stylings as he sang along with Brussels-based drag act LaDiva Live to a rendition of Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien”. The fashion icon was even nice enough to oblige when we cornered him for a photo op!
After the reception, those of us gathered at the Town Hall moved in procession through the centre of Brussels towards the Manneken Pis, where Gaultier unveiled the costume he had designed for Brussels’ famous unrinating statue to mark the 20th anniversary of the Pride Festival. As we admired the Manneken Pis’ new outfit, the water flowing from the statue transformed into a bright red colour as the water was replaced by Kriek. Cups were filled with the Belgian cherry beer and passed around for all to enjoy, before the procession made its way back to the Grand Place which had been lit up in a rainbow of light – a spectacular sight.
The Pride Festival runs throughout the first 2 weeks of May, with the LGBT community putting on a raft of activities around the city, culminating in the annual Pride Parade through the centre of Brussels in which more than 100,000 people are expected to take part. MiniPride was an excellent start to the festivities, and it was a privilege to be a part of it.
Pride Festival 2015