The seventh annual Pink Loerie Mardi Gras street parade in Knysna, which attracted thousands on Saturday, went ahead without any incidents.
The four day festival had been targeted by a group of residents – headed by Pastor Jerome Nel of the Garden Route Christian Centre as well as members of the local Muslim Council – who had campaigned to stop the event from taking place in the Western Cape town.
Around 300 people had previously handed over a letter to the mayor demanding a referendum on the issue in the town.
They also mounted a homophobic letter and e-mail campaign against businesses that supported the Pink Loerie.
A number of business people in Knysyna, who asked not to be named, told Mambaonline that they had received letters threatening a boycott if they placed any pink items in their stores or shop windows – a long-standing tradition during the festival.
While there appeared to be less pink visible in the town’s main street this year, the campaign seemed to have little effect on Saturday.
There were no signs of protestors during the parade, which consisted of a number of colourful floats and hundreds of participants, some in drag, almost all wearing pink and others holding placards supporting the event.
“They don’t have the balls to show their faces here, they know they are in the wrong,” said one participant.
Thousands of residents, including many families, showed their support by lining the town’s streets, wearing pink and cheering on the parade.
Knysna local Lance Arundel, who has previously exposed his rear while taking part in the parade, was asked to cover up by organiser Juan Lerm.
He attended this year’s event atop a vehicle and dressed much more demurely as British comedy character Mr Bean.