The 10th annual Pink Loerie Mardi Gras came to an end on Sunday in Knysna as organisers confirmed that the event will continue to take place in years to come.

Rumours had circulated in the LGBT community that this year’s festival would be the last after the creator and organiser of the Loeries, Juan Lerm, took on a work opportunity in West Africa shortly before the event.

The mardi gras was then handed over to Coenie Kukkuk, editor of Gayspeak and organiser of the Mr Gay SA pageant, to manage.

Despite these challenges, last week’s event was widely considered a success, and Saturday’s parade featured hundreds of participants and thousands of locals and visitors lining the town’s streets to watch the colourful procession.

“The new Pink Loerie Organising Committee (PLOC) only had a month and a half to organise a festival of this magnitude – [taking place] over a [period of a] week, with no less than 38 events. It was a great achievement of the PLOC that nothing major went wrong,” said Kukkuk.

The event included a number of pageants such as the Mr Mardi Gras competition, in which the winner, Dustin Carr, and runner up, Karl-Heinz Michel, were automatically entered as finalists for the 2010 Mr Gay South Africa title, taking place later in the year.

The festival featured an art exhibition, cabaret shows, numerous after-parties and a soccer tournament. A VIP dinner was also held on Friday night in honour of Mambaonline editor Luiz DeBarros, who was a special guest of the mardi gras.

Kukkuk told Mambaonline that the event will indeed go ahead next year and that plans are already underway to make the festival even bigger and better.

The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras was created as a means to stimulate tourism in the town of Knysna during a traditionally quiet period of the year.

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