Pride in the Park

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Queenstown’s annual Winter Pride festival, formerly Gay Ski Week QT, includes a free public event for the first time next month.

Pride in the Park takes place on Earnslaw Park on Friday, September 7, from 12 till 8pm.

The event features singers, DJs, dancers, comedians, drag performers, ‘Doggy Drag’ and other acts on a performance stage.

“The whole strategy behind it is about pulling the community together to celebrate pride publicly,” Winter Pride director Martin King says.

The official guests are Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni, who’s also Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, MP Louisa Wall, who was behind New Zealand’s same-sex marriage legislation, local mayor Jim Boult, and mayoress Karen Boult who’s patron of the new Queenstown Pride Pledge initiative.

Pride in the Park is backed by a $25,000 grant from the council’s event fund with support also from naming sponsor, ASB Bank.

King says each act will last 15 to 20 minutes, and he’s already scheduled about six hours’ entertainment.

“We are still looking for more dance performers, in particular, and any others.”

‘Doggy Drag’, for the uninitiated, is about dressing up your pooch and bringing her/him along.

There’ll also be a bar, food trucks, tables, chairs and heaters.

Queenstown Resort College students will help man the event as part of their studies.

“Hopefully we’ll get a really good turnout,” King says.

“Our ultimate vision is that within three to five years this could become a really significant event that maybe ends in a fireworks-type event.”

If the day’s too wet, an indoor venue will be used instead.

scoop@scene.co.nz