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The best of Stockholm Pride

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The best of Stockholm Pride
15:53 CEST+02:00
It's the largest gay pride event in northern Europe, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from across Sweden, Europe and the world. Part party, part political demonstration, Pride has truly become a highlight of Stockholm's summer calendar.

This year, the somewhat unexpected theme of the festival is 'hetero'. The organizers say they want both to reach out to straight people and to illustrate how heterosexual norms affect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

The week will reach its climax with Saturday's parade through the streets of Stockholm, where a projected 500,000 people will watch drag queens, dykes on bikes, and lesbian, gay and transgender organizations put on the show of the year. The parade will weave its way through the centre of the city from Humlegården to Tantolunden, starting at 1pm. Get there early for a good view - the area of Hornsgatan near Slussen is often a great place to stand.

But there's much more to Pride than the parade. Thursday, Friday and Saturday will see a whole array of entertainments laid on, both for Pride ticket holders and for the public at large. Here are The Local's top tips for the final days of Stockholm Pride:

In the Park

The Tantolunden park on Södermalm has been transformed for the final time into Pride Park – the festival will be moving to new grounds next year. The park will be home to some of the most popular events in this year's programme. Among them are:

The Schlager Evening

Perhaps the most popular night of the whole festival. The Swedish gay crowd is known for loving its Eurovision ditties, and on Thursday it will have its desires fulfilled. Expect a big line-up of Swedish stars, with a few international guests thrown in for good measure. Most of the line-up is being kept secret, but organizers have revealed that Eurovision winner Alexander Rybak and Iceland's Yohanna, this year's runner-up, will be among those performing.

Time: Thursday from 18:30

Nineties Night

Time for a bit of nostalgia on Friday night, as Dr. Alban and E-Type provide a blast from the past. The organizers are also promising that ‘one of the decade's biggest groups' will be back together on stage in Tantolunden on Friday. To find out their identity, you'll just have to turn up.

Time: Friday from 18:30

Pride Gala

At the end of the parade, the crowds gather in Tantolunden for the week's best party. This year, Soft Cell singer Marc Almond will be among those entertaining the crowds, along with a host of Swedish and international artists.

Time: Saturday from 19:30

Pride Garden

This year sees the inauguration of Pride Garden on Kungsträdgården in the middle of the capital. Pride Garden is the setting for talks and cultural events, particularly centred on the theme of this year's festival, ‘Hetero'. The idea of the theme is to highlight society's norms and expectations and how they impact on straight, gay and transgendered people. Most events will be in Swedish, but stalls and sideshows in the area mean this is still worth a visit even for those who don't speak the lingo.

Out on the town

Pride-related events are being held across Stockholm to coincide with the festival. These include:

Cruise lesbian Stockholm

Tourist boat operator Strömma Kanalbolag is offering a tour of lesbian Stockholm from the water. Find out about the history of Stockholm from a lesbian perspective. The trip takes place on Friday at 6:15pm, lasts two hours, costs, 200 kr, and departs from Strömkajen in the middle of Stockholm.

Tickets at the operator's website or at the quayside.

The Official Mr Gay Sweden 2009

If you're looking for rippling abs and a night of partying, head to Nalen in central Stockholm where the winner of this year's Mr. Gay Sweden will be revealed. Dance the night away to Eurovision, house and disco music. Tickets 160 kronor from the champagne bar in Pride Park.

Time: Friday 10pm-3am.

More information here.

Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin – ‘King, Queen and Queer'

How does our view of history change if you read it from a gay, lesbian or queer perspective? This photo exhibition at Armémuseum (the Swedish Army Museum) looks at historic monarchs from a new angle. The exhibition is free and runs until October.

More details on Stockholm Pride's homepage.

Many of Stockholm's gay bars and clubs are holding special Pride-related events. To find out more, check out The Local's guide to Stockholm gay life .

For more information on the festival, visit Stockholm Pride's

homepage.

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