Watch this audio slideshow about the Gay Pride Festival in Reykjavík which, ever since it was first held in 1999, has been a huge success. This year as many as 90,000 people are estimated to have attended the festival, which took place August 5-8. Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr, in drag, led the Gay Pride parade.
Photos and narration by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir [email protected].
Click here to download the audio slideshow.
The Reykjavík Gay Pride Festival, or Hinsegin dagar, was first held in 1999 and has been a huge success from the start, with tens of thousands of people in attendance. This year, 90,000 people are estimated to have participated in the parade and related events.
The festival is always held during the second weekend of August with the opening ceremony taking place on a Thursday, this year on August 5.
Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr opened the festival as Svalbjörg, a middle-aged lady who said the mayor was too busy to attend the ceremony himself, adding that this is what people get for electing a “clown” to be their mayor.
The day before, Iceland’s Drag King and Queen were crowned.
The Gay Pride Parade, which progresses down Laugavegur, Reykjavík’s main shopping street, takes place on a Saturday and is the highlight of the festival.
Svalbjörg, Mayor Gnarr’s female alter-ego, appeared again to lead the parade, waving to the crowd from the first float which the Reykjavík Road Department had decorated, according to gaypride.is.
Svalbjörg was followed by families who were parading in support for their gay and lesbian relatives and a float with same-sex newlyweds thanking Iceland for establishing a unified matrimonial law earlier in the year.
There were all sorts of floats with people dressed up as angels and demons, Christmas characters and ornaments and university students reminding spectators that gays and lesbians are “everywhere”. A colorful balloon snake then made its way down Laugavegur.
Pirates, pole dancers and pimps were also part of the parade, as was pop star extraordinaire Haffi Haff, covered from head to toe in lace.
Filmmaker, television presenter, entertainer and nature protection activist Ómar Ragnarsson chauffeured the newly-crowned Drag Queen of Iceland in a tiny yellow car and Mr. Gay Iceland followed proudly waving a rainbow flag.
The last float of the parade is always that of flamboyant pop icon Páll Óskar, who this year was standing on top of what looked like a giant bright red cake which could be hoisted up to the rooftops of the tallest buildings lining the road.
The parade continued down Laugavegur to Arnarhóll where speeches were held—among the speakers was Minister of Education and Culture Katrín Jakobsdóttir—and music was played. The party continued throughout the night.