First Pride Ball held in 1998
The Birmingham Gay and Lesbian Pride Ball was originally established as a fundraiser for the second city’s gay Pride festival, an event which first took place in 1997. The first Ball in 1998 was initially organised by the Birmingham Pride committee member Graham Brogden, and took place at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The venue was later changed to the city’s Grand Hotel.
In the year 2001, Midlands Zone magazine took over the organisation of the Ball and ran it as an event which was independent from Birmingham Pride. The Ball also moved venue once again, this time to the prestigious International Convention Centre, which now hosts the event every Spring. The initial Midlands Zone-organised event attracted a record 540 guests. Since 2001, the Birmingham Gay and Lesbian ride Ball] has grown in size and stature, with just under 800 in attendance in April 2008. Since 2007, the Ball has raised money directly to benefit local HIV/AIDS charities and LGBT organisations. The event also includes the Oscar-style Midlands Zone Readers' Awards