Following its first-year success, the far south coast’s Rainbow Wave Festival is coming to Merimbula on 22 February 2020 and this time around, the event is free, public and will feature a Mardi Gras inspired parade!
“Bega High School and Eden High School are both having floats in the parade. It’s really special to me because I went to Eden High School,” says Headspace peer worker Carly McDonald, who is part of the growing committee which puts together the festival.
Last year’s event attracted over 400 people and was ticketed and secure, but Carly says the response was so positive last year that the LGBTI+ community feels safe to have the event in a public, open space and they also don’t want price to be a barrier.
Seeing familiar faces from around town at last year’s festival made an impact on Carly.
“It meant a lot to me to see people there last year who I hadn’t expected to see – I thought ‘I never knew you were an ally and supporter’. These events are for the whole community, not only the LGBTI+ community and we want to see you there.”
The Rainbow Wave committee encourages you to register your float for the parade.
“I got to go to the Wagga Mardi Gras parade this year and it was so much fun marching down the street with all the floats and the cheering crowd, so we encourage everyone to enter a float,” Carly says.
A float entry can be as big as a truck and as creative as you like but Carly says the committee welcomes simple ideas, too.
“If your organisation or group wants to walk down the street with a few flags or balloons and a banner, that would be great. We’d absolutely welcome your support,” Carly emphasises.
The committee is also putting the word out for Merimbula businesses to get involved by decorating their shop fronts and having special deals like rainbow cake and coffee to maximise the potential of a crowd coming to town.
The Priscilla bus will be back this year and will take part in the parade, along with local drag acts and a line up of youth bands which will play on a truck stage, donated for the day by Bobbins Transport.
The day will kick off the event with the parade down Merimbula Main St at 12:00 pm, followed by live music and market and service stalls in the Beach St Carpark, with the event winding up at around 5:30 pm.
“We want to see this town show their support for the LGBTI+ community and have fun doing so!” Carly says.
There will be an afterparty for adults, which the committee are not organising.
If you’d like to support the Rainbow Wave Festival, you can volunteer, donate or come along to a fundraiser on Saturday, 11 January at Santa Fe Restaurant in Merimbula.
Rainbow Wave Festival 2020 merchandise is available for purchase at the Merimbula Visitors Centre.
The festival is proudly supported by Headspace Bega and Grand Pacific Health.