THE first Gay Pride parade in the whole of the Marina Alta region of Alicante has been declared a ‘huge success’.

A raucous samba band led more than 100 festival goers through the streets of Javea old town with the only impediment ‘an old man growling from a balcony’.

‘HUGE SUCCESS’: A samba band traversed Javea’s old town. Credit: Olly Tew Photography

The parade was created by a student-led diversity group Xabia es Diversa, and had the explicit blessing of the Town Hall.

“I’m extremely happy. Acceptance is so important and this parade has been a huge success,” Javea’s councillor for equality, Montse Villaverde, told the Olive Press.

Villaverde added the parade was the fruit of three years of work taking LGBT educators to teach schools about diversity across the municipality.

“It was a great parade,” Matthew Butterfield, co-owner of the trendy Artesano cafe-restaurant in Moraira, told the Olive Press.

“You might think of rural Spain as being backwards, but London louts are far worse than anything you’ll experience here.”

XABIA IS DIVERSE: The parade ended at Javea’s Plaza de la Constitucion. Credit: Olly Tew Photography

The parade was even visited by UK artist and musician Osaro Ogbeide, whose 2019 gay pride anthem ‘Believe in Yourself’ was blasted before ‘3,000,000’ revellers in New York this month.

“Having been involved in the largest UK PRIDE, in Brighton, for over 10 years, the contrast could not be more different,” Ogbeide, told the Olive Press.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF: Ogbeide (second from right) at the parade in Javea

“In Javea, the atmosphere was far more relaxed, but the message is still the same: we are here and we will continue to celebrate who we are.

“With homophobic attacks increasing around the world, this moment will mean so much to the young people here tonight.”

James Fordham, a chef at the Punch cafe in Javea, said he ‘couldn’t believe’ an event like this would happen in Javea, where there are ‘no gay bars’.

“But the turn-out was great, everyone cheered us on – all except for one old man growling from a balcony,” he told the Olive Press.

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