It's festival time as the city dances, sings and paints itself all the colours of the rainbow for York Pride.

The parade from outside York Minster was half a mile long as it crawled through the Food and Drink Festival in Parliament Street at lunchtime.

Andy Train, co-chair of UK Pride Organisers Network and director of the British Isles region of the international Pride organisation, Interpride, said: "It's probably the longest Pride parade I have been on."

The emergency services led the way. At the head of the parade a North Yorkshire Fire Service fire engine announced the marchers' approach with repeated whoops of its siren.

Police provided the music courtesy of the Humberside Police Band followed by a police escort whose members improvised dance steps from time to time, and a Yorkshire Ambulance Trust ambulance with a large crew treated spectators with laughter and smiles.

Alistair Gunn of the National Ambulance LGBT Network said they had chosen to come to York Pride rather than Leeds Pride because the York event was very community-orientated.

After the open top double decker York Sightseeing Bus carrying Lord Mayor Cllr Keith Orrell and other VIPs, came, for the first time, a contingent representing all three armed services in perfect parade order.

"We're very proud to represent the armed services," said Capt James Steel of the 26th Royal Artillery.

"We're being made very welcome and it's a very enjoyable atmosphere."

Next was the traditional enormous Pride banner carried by an endless kaleidoscopic mass of marchers, none of them keeping in step with each other.

Behind came the rest of the parade with representatives from all aspects of York life. Both universities and several schools were among them as were women rugby players from York RI Sports Club.

Some York High School Year 9 pupils had only landed from a school trip in Barcelona in the small hours, but were determined to take part.

It took more than an hour for the multi-coloured parade to make its way via Parliament Street, Ouse Bridge, Skeldergate. Bishopthorpe Road and Campleshon Road to Knavesmire for the main part of the event.

Among those with stalls on Knavesmire, the Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough was represented for the first time.

There is a monthly LGBT mass at the Bar Convent, Blossom Street.

This evening the official After Party will be held at the Mansion Nightclub, Micklegate.