Fabulous festival focuses on more than Mardi Gras
Noosa’s drag queen bingo pioneer Melony Brests will once again lead the outrageous fun of the Annual Rainbow River Festival.
While not quite a rival to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the Sunshine Coast’s “fabulous” celebration of the LGBTIQ community still has plenty to offer.
For years Noosa was a fancied destination for post Mardi Gras parade recovery sessions, adding valuable pink dollars to the local economy.
But Rainbow Festival organiser Kirsty Patten said these days the festival catered more for residents and general Noosa visitors.
“I think those (post recovery) days ended in the ’80s and the ’90s,” Ms Patten said.
“We used to hold it (the festival) post Mardi Gras to try and entice some of that crowd up.
“We’ve just decided that we’re better off celebrating at the same time so people can enjoy the festivities at the same time as they’re going on in Sydney.”
Ms Patten said last year’s festival was one of the last times Queenslanders were allowed to gather and dance in large groups before COVID-19 restrictions kicked in.
“We’re just trying to keep the momentum of the festival going this year,” she said.
“We’re having most of the same events that we normally have, just in a smaller scale.”
This year’s festival kicks off on March 5 with Melony Brest joining sidekick Sall Monalla for drag queen bingo at the Lazy River Bar and Bistro in Noosaville.
Noosa’s Mardi Gras Viewing Party at the Villa Noosa Hotel on March 6, showcasing the Powderpuff Girls and the well-known DJ Les.
There will also be a game of beach cricket from 2pm.
“At Sydney this year they’re having the Mardi Gras at the Sydney Cricket Ground so we’ve put in a bit of a beach cricket game at our own cricket ground at the Spit,” Ms Patten said.
A weekend will be the family-friendly Noosa River Parade from 11.30am on March 7.
“We invite our visitors and the whole Noosa community to join us on the Noosa River for the famous annual river parade,” Ms Patten said.
“Hire a boat, bring your own boat or join the official Rainbow Party boat and party in the sun on a two-hour adventure up and down the Noosa River and canals.
“Be flirty, be daring and definitely be fabulous.”
Details are available at the festival Facebook page.