Knysna’s forests will be filled with fantastical fairies, bears, princes, princesses, (frogs too), kings and fabulous queens for the Malebooth Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival 2017, powered by MambaOnline.com and Exonika.
From 26 April to 1 May 2017, South Africa’s most beautiful town will once again host the annual celebration of all things LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer), with a storybook line-up of events and celebrations.
“In these times of upheaval, we decided to offer a distraction from reality with a modern fairytale theme,” says Pink Loerie’s John O’Neil. “Our focus is on the magical diversity of our community and the creativity and colour it has to offer.”
Returning this year are two popular features: the Bear Colony Festival (a furry gathering of the ‘bear’ community at Blackwaters River Lodge) and the Wigstock Festival (an outrageous celebration, through performance, of all things drag).
Other entertainment and cultural events will include the launch of Bruce J. Little’s book Little Poof! Homonolgues, the Mr and Miss Mardi Gras pageants, a couture fashion show by acclaimed designer Peter Bondesio, an exhibition of LGBTQ+ themed art at Knysna Fine Arts, and a series of parties that will take you to the end of the rainbow (and back again).
For those with a sportier inclination, Jozi Cats, Africa’s first gay and inclusive competitive rugby club, will attend Pink Loerie 2017, including the Bear Colony Festival.
More serious issues will be brought to the fore with a new initiative: a workshop and fundraising dinner focusing on hate crimes and the visibility of black lesbians, who are among the most vulnerable in the LGBTQ+ community.
“The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival is a time of celebration, but a celebration with a purpose,” explains O’Neil. “We hope to contribute and make a difference by addressing and highlighting the violence, stigma and discrimination faced by many LGBTQ+ people.”
Not only is Pink Loerie a memorable occasion for visitors from around the country, but it has also become a major part of Knysna life; boosting tourism and supporting local businesses and charities. As part of the festival’s contribution, a number of events will raise funds and reach out to the Loeriehof and Vermont retirement homes, Knysna Animal Welfare and the Paula Whitney Crèche.
Of course, the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival would not be complete without the public splendour and spectacle of the annual Street Parade. Locals and travellers alike will gather along Main Road to cheer the procession of floats. This will be followed by the After Parade PIAZZA Party, performances by the Queens of Wigstock and the awarding of Best Dressed, Best Float and Best Window prizes.
This year, Mango Airlines has proudly come on board the Pink Loerie 2017 magic carpet. Keep an eye on Mango’s social media pages for the opportunity to win a weekend extravaganza at the festival, including accommodation, festival tickets for two, a signed copy of Little Poof! Homonolgues by Bruce J. Little and lots more. (Visit the Facebook page for more: facebook.com/FlyMangoSA)
As always, the event is supported by Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for the Western Cape.
For more information on the 2017 Malebooth Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival (including the full line up events and assistance with travel and accommodation) please visit the following platforms:
Donate directly at www.payfast.co.za/donate/go/pinkloeriefoundation