If you’re in Knysna from Wednesday 30 April to Sunday 4 May 2014, don’t be alarmed if you’re surrounded by flashes of pink and a flurry of feather boas.
It’s not a migration of flamingos – it’s Knysna’s 14th Annual Mardi Gras and Arts Festival!
This year the festival is expecting its biggest, pinkest flock of LBGT community members and friends to descend on the seaside town. Many come from far and wide to make this the liveliest, cheekiest festival ever – the only one of its kind on the African Continent.
This year’s theme is Funky Town, so expect the streets to shake to the beats of vivacious music, colourful costumes, and a whole lot of dancing. A town transformed into a delight of 50 shades of pink, glimmering with fairy wings, sequins and lipstick.
Over the course of the five days, there is a boundless selection of gay themed shows and social events to attend to show off your magnificent day and nightwear. The VIP dinner and fund-raising auction, art exhibition, and fantastic shows by the fabulous Boylesque and Queens of Funky Town are extremely popular, and a trip around the laid-back flea market might help calm your nerves before the Mr and Miss Mardi Gras and the OTT Me Mardi Gras competitions.
To help the locals get involved there is even a prize for the best shop window display.
All this excitement culminates in a huge colourful street parade of giant floats, confetti, dancing and celebrations, with locals and festival-goers eager to get a glimpse of the shows and the special VIP guest star – New Zealand’s very own Mr Gay World 2013, Christopher Olwage.
In spite of the all the fun, the festival has a serious message, and what started as an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign has now had huge success in nurturing tolerance and understanding of gay and lesbian issues across the world.
Don’t fret if you can’t find your pink suitcase, all you really need to pack is an open mind and a pair of fabulous shoes.