Pink Loeries to help Knysna rebuild

By Karishma Dipa Time of article published Apr 3, 2018

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A festival which has contributed significantly towards tourism in a small coastal town and has celebrated the inclusivity of all cultures now plans to touch more lives in its own backyard.

As the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival turns 18 this year, its organisers have decided that proceeds from this year’s event will go towards rebuilding Knysna, which was ravaged by devastating fires last year.

The flames, which ripped through the Western Cape town and surrounding areas in June, claimed the lives of seven people and destroyed at least 1000 houses.

Following the infernos, scores of residents were left destitute and the town is now working hard to rebuild itself.

The festival has been held in Knysna since its inception in 2000. “Knysna has been the festival’s home for the past 18 years and it’s only natural to show your love and support to those that have supported you openly and, in some cases, silently,” says festival organiser John O'Neil.

Money from the festival, which will be held in May, will be collected through ticket sales and the annual VIP dinner and fund-raising auction, he says.

Items from the auction will include some donated by the Mr Gay World 2018 Knysna South Africa delegates which represent them and their country.

O’Neil hopes to raise about R300000, which will go towards rebuilding Knysna’s infrastructure. “We will sit with all the key role-players and identify the areas of need and assist there.”

Thousands of people are expected to flock to the festival, which is acclaimed for its celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex (LGBTI) communities.

“Being the only openly LGBTQ+ festival in South Africa we are inclusive of all cultures. The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras is also an event that will not only incorporate the region’s LGBTQ+ identity, but also celebrate the cultural contribution the LGBTQ+ community has made to the region to overcome a history of suppression.”

The theme of this year’s festival is S&M - Sequence and Mascara. “Turning 18, it was time to grow up a little and what can be more fun than some feathers, leather, sequence and mascara,” says O’Neil.

The four-day festival will feature a performance by inter- national singing sensation and winner of the Voice Israel, Lina, as well as local tours, wine, beer and oyster tasting and the annual street parade, which paints the streets of Knysna with cheer, glitter, colour and charm.

For more information, visit www.webtickets.co.za

Saturday Star

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