The Knysna Pink Loerie

Celebrate gay pride in the Garden Route’s queen city


Haul out the fabulous costumes, the feathers and all the pride you can muster! The fantastic and fun Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival is back for its annual glittery takeover of Knysna from Wednesday, 27 April to Sunday, 1 May 2016.

Set in one of South Africa’s most stunningly scenic towns, the spectacularly colourful affair – this year’s theme is ‘‘Young at Heart and Never Been Kissed’ – basically shuts down the tranquil Garden Route dorpie with five days of shows, entertainment, pageants and heaps of over-the-top festivities. Unquestionably a global highlight for the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual) community, the fair also appeals to anyone else who wants to celebrate diversity and acceptance.

The barrage of drag shows, beauty pageants, art exhibitions and all-night jols culminates in a street parade on Saturday, 30 April 2016 that features fabulous floats and street performances. In short, prepare for a glittery good time.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE 2016 KNYSNA PINK LOERIE FESTIVAL

Visit Pinkloerie.co.za for full programme details (and accommodation specials), but if you’re chomping at the bit waiting to see what this year’s fiesta has to offer, here’s a little taste of what to expect.

TIE THE KNOT: For the first time in its sixteen year history, the Pink Loerie will celebrate SA’s first mass same-sex wedding at the festival in 2016. Sixteen couples will be chosen to tie the knot in an official ceremony officiated by Knysna’s mayor, Georlene Wolmarans. The ceremony will take place on Friday, 29 April at Villa Castollini, Brenton-on-Sea, and the views are sensational. 

VIP DINNER & FUNDRAISING AUCTION: Directly after the Tie the Knot ceremony, and also hosted at Villa Castollini, the VIP dinner and fundraising event will provide guests the opportunity to wine and dine, and spend some money for a good cause. More details to follow!

PAGEANT QUEENS AND KINGS: A highlight of the festival is when candidates strut their stuff for audiences at the following pageants: Mr Mardi Gras, Miss Mardi Gras and Madame Wigstock. All three of these pageants are being held on Friday, 29 April, at the Knysna Mall Exhibition Area. Look out for the respective entrants, who’ll be trying to impress and entrance viewers (and judges) throughout the festival. 

STREET PARADE: An unforgettable aspect of the glittery shindig is the street parade, which sees fantastic floats and over-the-top costumes cruising down the roads of Knysna. The parade takes place on Saturday, 30 April. The couples who got hitched at the Tie the Knot ceremony will lead the parade through the streets of this lovely town.

DRAG QUEENS GALORE: This year, glitzy, extravagant drag queens get to take centre stage. Festival-goers can look forward to the debut of the Wigstock Premium Drag Event in South Africa. For those not in the know, Wigstock was a huge outdoor drag music festival that launched in the United States in the 1980s and is renowned as being a platform for queens to showcase their performance talents.

FAREWELL SUNDAY LUNCH: Bid adieu to a weekend of fun and feathers with the opportunity to sit down to a delicious meal, and enjoy a little bit of rest and relaxation after a busy weekend. The meal starts at 12pm, and runs until 3pm, so there is plenty of time to relax with a glass of wine or five. 

TICKETS FOR THE PINK LOERIE FESTIVAL IN KNYSNA

Tickets for each of the events are available online at Pinkloerie.co.za. They range in price from R85 for the pageant events, to R350 for the VIP Fundraising Dinner. For more info visit their website.

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Interested in other events around Cape Town? Take a look at our overview of April events in Cape Town and surrounds so you don’t miss a single shindig. 

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