THE Sunshine Coast Pride Festival returns to the Eumundi Markets next month as part of three days of activities to mark the event's 10th anniversary.
THE Sunshine Coast Pride Festival returns to the Eumundi Markets next month as part of three days of activities to mark the event's 10th anniversary. Patrick Woods

Coast festival celebrates decade of success

A DECADE of celebrating diversity and inclusion on the Sunshine Coast will be marked by a festival next month which has events planned from Noosa to Maroochydore.

The 10th annual Sunshine Coast Pride Festival has grown from a small one-day event at the local community centre to a three-day celebration anchored by partner the Eumundi Markets and running from February 24-26.

Its main aim in that time has been the celebration of diversity and promotion of a fun and safe environment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer community, their families, friends and the general public.

Sunshine Coast Pride Network co-chair Fiona Anderson said the 2017 theme, "Under The Rainbow", acknowledged that we are all born under the same sky and we are all equal.

Celebrations will kick off at Villa Noosa Hotel on February 24 with Melony Brests' Quiz Queen Trivia, followed on the Saturday by Fair Day at Eumundi Markets and the Paw Parade competition.

Signalling the start of the day's festivities will be the 8.30am arrival of Dykes on Bikes, launching an entertainment line-up including Darren Adler, Lizzy Maynes, Annie J Fusion, Mettaphor and Lea Swanson, the Burlesque Girls, the Ukelele Sisters, SoLar and her beautiful music and Kristy Apps and the Shotgun Shirleys.

Coast artist Lorelle Murray has pulled together a Pride Art Exhibition which will running during Fair Day at the Eumundi Hotel.

Ms Anderson said the exhibition was a first for any Pride Festival across Queensland to have an exclusive exhibition showcasing the expression of identity and belonging.

The action shifts to the Waterfront Hotel on the Saturday night, featuring Melony Brests and the Powderpuff Girls.

The festival's last day on February 26 kicks off with PinkFitz and a stunning walk through Kondililla Falls, followed by lunch and a swim before revellers hit the Post Office bar and beergarden in Maroochydore at 2pm for the soulful sounds of Lizzy Maynes.

The Sunshine Coast Pride Network has won the Healthy Towns Connections Between People award for its ability in community groups to bring people together, increasing social connections and providing a sense of belonging.

The festival has also been nominated and short-listed for the Australian LGBTI Awards Community Initiative Award.

"We have some fantastic sponsors that continue to support us year after year, including our founding partner the Queensland AIDS Council, as well as the Sunshine Coast Council and Eumundi Markets," Fiona said.

"We would like to recognise their generosity and continued faith in this event."

See www.sunshinecoastpride.com.au or www.facebook.com/sunshinecoastqldpride