By Rebecca Black, PA
Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane has received the first Pride flag that will fly from City Hall.
The rainbow flag was delivered down Belfast Lough on a flotilla of boats blasting their horns to cheers from onlookers on the banks.
It will be the first time a Pride flag flies from City Hall.
Thousands are expected to take part in and watch the Belfast Pride parade on Saturday.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke and US Consul General in Belfast Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau also attended the Pride of Sail event on Friday evening.
(Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane waves the Rainbow flag presented to him by Pride activists)
Mr Finucane said he is proud to lead the parade on Saturday, describing it as one of the highlights of his year as mayor.
"This was an excellent event organised by Belfast Pride, they had a flotilla coming down the Lagan to present me with one of the original Gilbert Baker Pride flags to mark the significance of the Pride flag flying over the City Hall for the first time in our history as a city tomorrow and to celebrate what I think will be the biggest and the best ever Pride festival in Belfast," he said.
"While we live in a time where rights for those in the LGBTQ community remain outstanding, to see that flag fly over the City Hall, to see that leadership from City Council, I think is very important because this is a city for everybody, everybody has their place here, and I think the energy, the vibrancy and the inclusive nature of the parade tomorrow is going to be an absolute joy and I encourage everybody to come down.
"I'm going to be exceptionally proud to be at the front of the Pride parade, I think it's something that brings so much energy into Belfast, it brings people together. There will be a record number of people on the march, there is going to be a record number of entries for floats coming down.
"It's absolutely one of my highlights of the year and I'm very proud to be mayor when the rainbow flag, the Pride flag, will fly from City Hall for the first time."
( Chair of Belfast Pride Sean O Neill and Sinn Fin's Mary Ellen Campbell present to Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane)