Everyone in the pink for street parade

By Jo-ann Bekker Time of article published May 30, 2005

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A bright pink haze enveloped the centre of town on Saturday as an estimated 10 000 people packed Main and Gray streets for the fifth annual Pink Loerie street parade.

Spectators - many also dressed in pink - filled coffee shops and overflowed from balconies of clubs throbbing with music. They mobbed the floats, interacting with participants and taking photographs with their cellphones.

They were not disappointed. Caprice, winner of the Queen of Clubs Drag Show competition, led the parade in a gilded cage. The Archbishop of the Moon, Carl Gatley, followed in mitre and g-string, and acclaimed cabaret artist Deon Bischoff brought up the rear as a red-cloaked horned Mephistopheles.

The trio with the most elaborate costumes were Cinderella, Victoria Caballaire, regal on sky-high heels, her fairy godmother, Gordon Isaacs and Prince Charming's mother, Ian Vermeulen.

Local hairdressers Frank, Oscar and Santi in pink Babygros and a creamy Porsche won the prize for the best float.

There were women in T-shirts proclaiming "Prejudice - get over it", an Animal Welfare float, people handing out condoms, and a man with a teddy bear barely preserving his modesty.

"Look at the crowds, there is such goodwill," said Jeanine Orzechowski, Knysna Tourism's public relations and festivals manager.

"This has become a family event, kids are everywhere. People have been sitting here all day waiting for the parade. It's a real street party."

A record number of shops and restaurants turned pink. Many flew the rainbow flag, another Pink Loerie emblem, celebrating the constitution.

Organiser Alan Sass estimated that 10 000 people watched the parade through town, and 3 000 to 4 000 visitors spent the weekend in Knysna.

Apart from parties and cabaret shows, the carnival included a number of art exhibitions.

Ignoring Sunday's rain, scores of people attended the Beyond Eden forest festival of women's art, music and song, which was opened by singer Jennifer Ferguson.

Sass said he'd averaged three hours sleep a night.

"People have been giving me great ideas for 2006. Next year is definitely going to be bigger and even better," he said.

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