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Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival

Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival
Sa lgbt flag 2010.jpg
StatusActive
GenreFestival/carnival with LGBTQ Pride parade
Date(s)April/May
FrequencyAnnually
Venuevarious
Location(s)Knysna township, Western Cape province,
CountrySouth Africa
Years active19
Most recent2018
Attendance25,000-30,000
Websitewww.pinkloerie.co.za

The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival is an annual LGBTQ Pride carnival event and parade held in Knysna, a coastal township in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Events include their version of the Wigstock drag queen festival, a bear fest, athletic events, and an art festival.[1] It is one of the country's largest LGBTQ events.[2] Since its start in 2000 it has grown to be a significant event for the town culminating in the grand finale of Pink Loerie, Knysna Pride parade and its 1000-person after-party held on the final weekend with floats, performers, and DJs. The Knysna loerie is a green bird but the color pink has a long association with LGBTQ culture.[3]

A pair of Knysna turacos or loeries for which the event is named.

Pink Loerie has traditionally been held in late April/ early May but in 2018 was moved to late May. 2020’s festivities were cancelled due to the Covid-2019 coronavirus pandemic.[4] It was announced that the Mr Gay World, and Mr Gay All Stars events will be held in conjunction with the 2021 Pink Loerie, with events in both Knysna and Port Elizabeth.[5]

Background

According to Sowetan Live Magazine, the Knysna township is "a destination of expansive lagoons and indigenous forests surrounded by the Outeniqua Mountain range in the heart of the popular Garden Route".[6] The local economy is geared towards tourism, including ecotourism, and the area’s main local specialty oysters. Pink Loerie was started by local businessmen to entice tourists to the town during the traditionally slow month of May to reinvigorate the economy.

South Africa has "arguably the most liberal constitution for LGBTQI people" but still has to overcome homophobia and the reticence of LGBTQ people to visit.[5] According to Pink Loerie and other groups homophobia and anti-LGBTQ attitudes were introduced to the African continent through colonialism.[7] Same-sex relationships were quite common in Africa prior to colonialism.[7] The Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that anti-gay stigmas often come from colonial-era laws in Africa (1870s-1900).[8] LGBTQ tourism is estimated to be worth over $200 billion a year as of 2019.[5]

The Knysna loerie is a green bird but the color pink has a long association with LGBTQ culture.[3]

History

The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival is an annual LGBTQ Pride carnival event and parade held in Knysna, a coastal township in the Western Cape province of South Africa.[9] Since its start in 2000 it has grown to be a significant event for the town culminating in the Knysna Pride parade or Madrid Gras.[10][6][11]

Pink Loerie was first celebrated in May 2001, and was “groundbreaking” in the country for the way organisers worked “with the town of Knysna to put on the annual LGBTQ arts and culture festival”.[12] During early years organisers envisioned an event that would emulate Pride events celebrating diversity, the next evolution was to host a parade akin to that of the famous Sydney Mardi Gras.[12]

Juan Lerm-Hoffman, one of the co-founders who also co-founded Mr Gay South Africa, wrote: “Pink Loerie Mardi Gras was born to benefit the town of Knysna, to create a platform for the entire LGBTI community to celebrate their culture and all the diversities within and to raise money for various charities and last but not least to use the Mardi Gras as a ‘tool’ to educate the masses on the gay community and gay culture, on the difficulties within this culture and to promote tolerance and understanding.”[12] Lerm-Hoffman, who grew up in the Eastern Cape province, ran Pink Loerie until new organizers took over in 2009.[12]

In 2003 Pink Loerie estimated 3,000 visitors.[13] In 2005, an estimated estimated that 10,000 people watched the parade, and 3,000 to 4,000 visitors spent the weekend in the township.[14] In 2007 attendance was estimated at 8,000 to 10,000 people.[15][16] Pink Loerie organizes fundraising like a VIP dinner, and silent auction, for charities like old-age homes, animal welfare and others raising thousands of Rands.[2][17] The grand finale of Pink Loerie is Knysna Pride parade and its 1000-person after-party held on the final weekend with floats, performers, and DJs.[18]

International attention focused on Knysna when Mr Gay World 2015, and Mr Gay World 2018 were both held as part of Pink Loerie.[19][20][21] Mr Gay World and Pink Loerie will again coincide in the township in 2021.[22] In 2016 Africa’s first mass same-sex wedding took place when sixteen couples wed at Pink Loerie.[23][2] Events include their version of the Wigstock drag queen festival, a bear fest, athletic events, and an art festival.[1]

During the 2017 Knysna Fires—where seven people were killed and over 1000 homes were burned down—Pink Loerie and the Pink Loerie Foundation raised funds and procured relief items for families in distress.[17][24][25] The 2018 Pink Loerie was a benefit for the recovery effort.[17] The Pink Loerie Foundation received the Community Outreach Award during the annual 92.2 FM Eastwave Radio Nelson Mandela International Day Community Leadership Awards for their contribution and work during the 2017 Knysna Fires in the Greater Knysna area.[26] The 2018 theme was Sequins and Mascara.[27]

Pink Loerie has traditionally been held in late April/early May but in 2018 was moved to late May.[28][29] 2019’s event was postponed due to a shortage of pre-event sponsors.[10] It was restructured in hopes future events would grow even larger.[30] 2020’s festivities were cancelled due to the Covid-2019 coronavirus pandemic.[31] It was announced that the Mr Gay World, and Mr Gay All Stars events will be held in conjunction with the 2021 Pink Loerie, with events in both Knysna and Port Elizabeth.[1]

It is one of the country’s largest LGBTQ events; in 2016 they had 25,000-30,000 people.[2] As of May 2020, John-Louis O’Neil is the Pink Loerie organizer.[12]

Pink Loerie Magazine

To secure funds in partnerships sponsors will often pay for ads in what has become Pink Loerie Magazine (PLM).[32] What started as a small one color guide booklet in 2010,[a] evolved to a full color newspaper by 2012,[b] and eventually to a registered glossy full color magazine.[c] The event has traditionally raised as much sponsorships as possible including support from Knysna Tourism, and the Town Council.[32] After expenses have been paid the remaining thousands is split between the named charities.[32] In 2014, R22,450 (equivalent to $27,490 in 2018) was raised for three charities: R5000 to the Knysna Animal Welfare Society, R9450 to the Loeriehof old age home, and R8000 to the Knysna Mayor’s Social Relief Fund.[33]

See also

Notes

  1. ^
    • "2010 Pink Loerie Guide". Issuu.
  2. ^
  3. ^

References

  1. ^ a b c Botha, Ted (2019-11-26). "South Africa Eyes Bigger Share of Global LGBTQI Market". Travel.SAPeople.com. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  2. ^ a b c d "Mass gay wedding reiterates how Knysna people embrace those from other cultures, creeds et al". www.cxpress.co.za. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  3. ^ a b Mafika (2015-11-29). "A feast of South African festivals". Brand South Africa. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  4. ^ "2020 Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival postponed". Media Update. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  5. ^ a b c Botha, Ted (2019-11-26). "South Africa Eyes Bigger Share of Global LGBTQI Market". Travel.SAPeople.com. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  6. ^ a b "#TravelTuesday: Knysna, the pearl of the Garden Route". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  7. ^ a b "Fury over 12 gay arrests". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  8. ^ Anderson, Tre’vell (September 17, 2019). "What Happened After A Rwandan Gospel Singer Came Out As Gay". Out. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  9. ^ "The annual Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival and Mango's involvement". The annual Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival and Mango’s involvement. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  10. ^ a b "Pink Loerie festival hits a snag". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  11. ^ Africa, AlgoaFM South. "Website". www.algoafm.co.za. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Pink Loerie Festival & Mr Gay South Africa co-founder passes away". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. 2020-05-13. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  13. ^ "Pink glitz as Knysna gears up for gay bash". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  14. ^ "Everyone in the pink for street parade". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  15. ^ "PINK LOERIE TAKES KNYSNA BY STORM". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  16. ^ "Vegas-style nuptials for Pink Loerie lovers". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  17. ^ a b c "Pink Loeries to help Knysna rebuild". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  18. ^ "Q&A: THE PINK LOERIE'S JUAN". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  19. ^ "Jordan Bruno Takes the Crown". June 4, 2018.
  20. ^ Wasserman, Mark (May 10, 2018). "International Star Headed To The Pink Loeries!".
  21. ^ "Australian chef Jordan Bruno crowned Mr Gay World 2018". Metro Weekly. 2018-05-29. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  22. ^ "Pink Loerie 2020 postponed till at least September". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. 2020-03-16. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  23. ^ "Mass wedding paints Knysna sky pink". www.iol.co.za.
  24. ^ "Pink Loerie defies fires & bigots to return to Knysna in 2018". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. June 22, 2017.
  25. ^ "Emergency! Help the Pink Loerie help Knysna". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. 2017-06-08. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  26. ^ "6th Annual Mandela leadership Awards". Rising Sun Lenasia. 2017-07-18. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  27. ^ "Pink Loerie launches 2018 S&M theme & announces new dates". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. 2017-11-21. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  28. ^ "Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival launches new campaign". Media Update. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  29. ^ "Pink Loerie launches 2018 S&M theme & announces new dates". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. 2017-11-21. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  30. ^ Africa, AlgoaFM South. "Website". www.algoafm.co.za. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  31. ^ "2020 Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival postponed". Media Update. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  32. ^ a b c "Q&A: THE PINK LOERIE'S JUAN". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  33. ^ "PINK LOERIE HANDS OVER CHEQUES TO 3 CHARITIES". MambaOnline - Gay South Africa online. 2014-06-24. Retrieved 2020-09-29.

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