Pridefest to makes it debut on the Coffs Coast

10th October 2017 1:30 PM
READY TO ROLL: Alan Jones, Todd Trappett, and Parul Punjabi are getting prepared for the festivities. READY TO ROLL: Alan Jones, Todd Trappett, and Parul Punjabi are getting prepared for the festivities. Trevor Veale

EVER imagine yourself swinging some bowls with a drag queen? You might want to mark this one on your calendar.

October 21 will be a whole day dedicated to supporting the LGBTIQ community, with celebrations expected to draw crowds from Grafton in the north to Port Macquarie from the south.

Coffs Connection and Community (CCC) and LGBTIQ Coffs Connection & Community have partnered with a number of local organisations and businesses to hold the Our-Coast Pridefest Celebration, which will be held at Park Beach Bowling Club from 5pm.

CCC co-creator Parul Punjabi said the day aims to celebrate and unite LGBTIQ+ individuals and families with the wider community.

"In our initial community consultation, a lot of members told us there wasn't anything happening in terms of LGBTIQ culture, and LGBTIQ people were feeling quite restricted and disconnected," Mr Punjabi said.

"The events did come about due to the marriage equality debate as such, but overall we see it as an opportunity where the whole community, no matter what sexual orientation, can support each other."

"Part of our grant is to consult with the LGBTIQ+ community to organise more events, and bring groups from around the region together. This is very much a community-led event and we hope this is just the start for a much bigger community-driven festival next year," added fellow co-creator Tod Trappett.

The Our-Coast Pridefest Celebration will include a drag show, a screening of the film Queen of Ireland, barefoot bowling, and a DJ and dance after-party.

Adam Jones, director at Any Entertainment, said funds raised at the community event would stay in the community.

"The small $10 entry fee goes towards the wonderful work the CCC groups are doing with the LGBTIQ+ community and it's a great cause to support while having a great time," Mr Jones said.

Any Entertainment is just one of the many organisations helping to put together the event, including the council, Heywire, Arts Mid North Coast, Boambee East Community Centre, Amnesty International Coffs Coast, Park Beach Bowling Club and more.

Also, during the day from 11am-5 pm at Park Beach Reserve, Mid Coast Communities, in partnership with CCC and a number of other organisations, will be holding the Mid North Coast LGBTIQ+ Rainbow Fair, which will include music, speeches, food vans, face painting, workshops and more.