After taking part in the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, we are no strangers to showing our association to Manchester. So, it was only natural that we would support the city’s LGBTQ community by joining in with the festivities at Manchester Pride this year, and entering our latest bin wagon into the effervescent parade.
The Fresh Start team met early on Saturday morning to prepare and dress our latest wagon, Rita Anne, in rainbow flags and bunting. This left just enough time for our colleagues to get into the party spirit of the weekend, adorning themselves with gems, garlands of flowers and a plethora of rainbow flags.
We had a special lorry livery created for the parade. It featured a handful of Manchester Bees in full rainbow regalia and ‘Being gay isn’t a waste…not recycling is!’ as a strapline. Our dozen-strong contingent also had bold placards made to reinforce the wagon’s message, and all wore bright orange Fresh Start branded t-shirts.
At last, it was time for the real fun to begin.
Rita Anne was escorted to her starting position on Liverpool Road, where the finishing flourishes were put in place.
While waiting for the procession to get underway at 1pm, the team and surrounding floats and companies were revelling in the atmosphere. The streets were alive with a sea of vibrant colour in all directions, with music blasting from every vehicle, mass street dancing, and flags and ribbons flowing with the movement.
Participants were sharing the love and taking photos with everyone they came across. No one was seen as an outsider or odd, the buoyancy of the day was contagious – and we hadn’t even set off yet!
Once we started along the course, the wagon was led along Deansgate where we met masses of people of all ages, race and gender, who turned out to show their support and to be a part of this wonderful event.
Our driver was soon swept along with the occasion, beeping his horn in time to the beats, which the crowd loved and roared their approval. There were a few groups along the way that chanted “Recycle! Recycle! Recycle!” to us, which was hugely positive and encouraging.
We carried on along the route, surrounded by tens of thousands of party goers and trying to keep up the momentum until we reached our final destination on Oxford Road.
We have dozens of happy waste management clients in the Gay Village and would dearly love to be a part of the Manchester Pride parade again in 2019 and beyond. In fact, we are already thinking about how we can make our presence bigger and better next year. A dance routine is definitely on the cards, though!