Stockholm ready to party with Pride

It is once again time for the Stockholm Pride festival – a week-long celebration of gay culture that brings some truly original characters into the streets, buses and restaurants.

Starting on Monday, the festival brings thousands to Sweden’s capital to take part in a variety of talks such as “Voice training for transsexuals,” and “Cunt – the facts,” and a session where participants would be able to question the political parties.

The heart of Stockholm Pride 2006 is Pride Park on Södermalm, which is called Tantolunden during any other time of the year, will have performances on stage starting on Wednesday.

Pride House is the festival’s cultural centre. It is loaded with seminars, debates, workshops, exhibitions, and other performances.

All of the food, talks and partying culminates on Saturday when some 250,000 people turn to the streets to watch truck loads of scantily-clad sailors, bikers, and other eccentric personalities parade through downtown.

“This year’s Pride week is going to be bigger than ever,” said Sören Andersson, president of The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights. “The numbers taking part are going up and up.”

Andersson said he thought Thursday night’s SchlagerPride music evening, and Friday’s political debate among several national politicians would be two of the week’s highlights.