Top chart acts, memorial ceremonies, the biggest parade ever and a street party – visitors won’t be short of things to do to mark Pride this year.

Organisers are welcoming one and all to enjoy a “safe and happy” day in what they describe as “the most spectacular” event in the city.

Among the highlights will be a record-breaking parade involving 80 floats and walking groups which starts from Marine Parade from 11am.

This year’s theme of The World’s A Disco is sure to mean a whole range of eye-catching outfits but also a serious and solemn message of LGBT rights with references to the 78 countries where homosexuality is persecuted by oppressive rules.

Participants in this year’s parade range from the Sussex Beacon, the rainbow chorus, Mercedes Benz, Girl Guides East Sussex and for the first time the City of London Police.

More than 200 EDF Energy employees, friends and family members will be joining the party on their Dance with Zingy mega-bus in the parade.

Kathryn Reeves, diversity and inclusion manager at EDF Energy, said its involvement in Pride “is one way of demonstrating our commitment to creating a great workplace where everyone can feel they can be themselves”.

American Express employees will also be riding through the parade as the firm is an official partner for this year’s event.

The financial services giant are bringing electronic payments to the festival for the first time allowing participants to pay for tickets, food and drink with credit and debit cards.

Mike Whyte, vice president of merchant services, said he was “immensely proud to be supporting the invaluable work Pride does in raising awareness and funds for the LGBT community”.

Starting from noon and running until 10pm this year, the party in Preston Park is even bigger than ever with more than 100 acts.

As well as chart stars Sam Bailey, Collabro, Katy B, Blue and former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, scores of local musical and cabaret stars will be performing, authors will be hosting discussions.

The park event will end with what organisers are promising will be an “amazing finale” featuring Dolly Rocket and original cast members of Priscilla.

Brighton Pride director Paul Kemp said: “Come rain or shine, Brighton Pride is the most spectacular day in the city’s calendar.

“Now that the day has finally arrived, we want to welcome everyone to join us in celebrating Pride 2014, spreading our message of Freedom to Live and of course in raising as much money for LGBT charities and good causes to benefit the city.”

Entertainment can also be found across town in St James’s Street where Pride organisers have taken charge of the street party for the first time.

Revellers who buy a £5 pledgeband will be able to enjoy all the fun of the traditional street party.

Pledgeband rules for access and alcohol buying will come into force from 4pm on Saturday until just after midnight and between 2pm and 8pm on Sunday.

Sunday will see a change in pace from the high-paced hedonism of Saturday and no more will that be felt than at the contemplative Celebration of Love and Life.

The event, new for 2014, will be held in New Steine Gardens from 8.30pm and will see people come together to remember friends and loved ones at a very special candle lit sunset event.

Mr Kemp said: “In 2014, we have worked to create a ‘Pride with Purpose’ that brings the community together to celebrate, support local charities and good causes and to show solidarity with LGBT communities around the world.

“The Pride Celebration of Love and Life is a meaningful way to close the Pride celebrations for 2014, a chance to commemorate friends and loved ones and to celebrate love and life.”

Another new addition for this year’s event will also be offering Pride partygoers an opportunity for a change of pace.

The Rainbow Rooms in New Steine Gardens will give local residents and Pride guests a chance to relax in a unique space.