Heritage weekend of fun, music around Nelson Mandela Bay

Khanyi Ndabeni  ndabenik@avusa.co.za

NELSON Mandela Bay residents are spoilt for choice this weekend with concerts, cultural events and Heritage Day celebrations to suit every palate.

The events include tomorrow’s inaugural gay pride “Born This Way” parade, the New Brighton Wine Festival which started yesterday and ends on Sunday, the Northern Areas Arts Festival on tomorrow and Sunday, as well as Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) Heritage Day events throughout the weekend.

The fun begins today as the MBDA kicks off with the Lifestyle conference which will see Nelson Mandela Foundation chief executive Achmat Dangor speaking at the Athenaeum, in Central, this morning.

“The conference targets anyone who is in the business sector, especially those who are in construction, and anyone who is interested in growing the economy of Nelson Mandela Bay,” MBDA spokeswoman Chuma Myoli said.

The conference will also see the launch of Route 67, which celebrates the city’s heritage through public art, spanning the 67 years former president Nelson Mandela devoted to public life.

“This will take place at the Donkin Reserve, where 67 art pieces telling our history are displayed,” Myoli said.

Tonight, Dash Night Club in Parliament Street will see the crowning of the queen and king of the gay pride parade.

They will be among the three glamorous drag queens who will lead the inaugural gay pride march in the city, called Born This Way. The event aims to set the city alight with fun and colour in the form of a huge parade tomorrow, according to organisers.

Gay Pride spokesman Robin Payne said they were expecting more than 100 people to participate in the march.

“It will be fun. The march will start at 1pm [tomorrow] at the corner of Stanley and Mackay streets and end in Parliament Street where there will be a live music festival,” he said.

In its fifth year, the Northern Arts Festival also promises a hive of activities at Varsvlei, in Sanctor, this weekend.

Among some of the highlight events at the festival is the air show directed by stunt flier Stu Davidson. There will also be helicopter rides available to the public.

Festival director Billy Paulson said: “We promise locals and visitors a weekend of fun. Music entertainment will be provided by the New Afro teens, Free Born [a childrens’ band] and Dawnay.

“We will also have a family karaoke tent as well as kite and briyani and koeksister competitions. The event will end with a gospel music programme on Sunday.”

The New Brighton Wine Festival is again being held at the Red Location Museum.

According to organisers, the intention of the festival is to commemorate African heritage and to celebrate Tourism Month.

Award-winning South African wines will be exhibited at the festival and wine tasting will also take place throughout the evenings.

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