It’s all systems go for arguably the biggest gay event on the South African calendar. The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival is in its 18th incarnation, with an exciting line-up and new innovations to the program. This year it coincides with the 10th edition of Mr Gay World™. The date is set for Thursday 24 May to Sunday 27 May 2018 as thousands of people are expected in Knysna.
The Pink Loerie is a well-known annual event in the quaint holiday town of Knysna, and this year the programme has seen some innovations. One of these is the Pink Loerie Food and Craft Market that will be held at the Knysna Mall. There are still a few stall spaces open, so those who apply quickly may still have a chance of getting one.
The newly renovated Vinyl on Main will host the traditional Meet and Greet on the Thursday. This is the ideal time to come check out who is in town and catch up on the latest gossip. It is also a great time to finalise your weekend plans, as there is so much to choose from! Perhaps you will go and see Betty Bangles and The Queens of Wigstock in one of their Drag Shows or join them for the #GayMay Fundraiser Concert including Mr and Miss Gay Mardi Gras at Vinyl on Main? Perhaps some of the lunchtime shows are more your cup of tea, or will you mix with the arty crowd at the Knysna Fine Arts Exhibition Opening?
And then of course there is the annual Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Street Parade, this year with a twist. Starting at 3pm on the Saturday on the corner of Queen Street and Main Road, it turns at Pledge Square and ends in front of Knysna Mall with a street party until 5pm. This party will be accompanied by live music and food. Come celebrate life!
The Mr Gay World™ 2018 President’s Ball and Fundraising Auction is on the Friday evening at Villa Castollini and the Grand Finale on the Saturday night at the same venue. With delegates arriving from more than 20 countries, this dazzling event will have the gay world’s eyes on Knysna as the press follow them on their week-long journey. During the week the delegates will, with the support and embrace of the community, participate in community projects in and around Knysna. Attention then shifts to the two events that culminate in the crowning of Mr Gay World™ 2018.
As usual, the people of Knysna have shown warm support for the event. Organiser John-Louis O’Neill says: “We are overwhelmed by the support of guest houses, hotels, restaurants and many others who are supporting us here in Knysna. I just want to thank everybody for their support so far. I want to invite them to also attend the events.”
The organisers are expecting a bumper year for this event and they are ready for the large numbers of participants and guests to arrive. The economic boost to the town will help rebuild after the devastating fires and is a way of thanking Knysna for its years of support.
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We are edging our way towards the end of winter and have much to look forward to over the warmer months ahead - with not one, but three popular festivals scheduled to take place in Knysna over the next few months. Not only are festivals important local economic drivers but they also play an important role in strengthening community spirit. Most of these festivals also have fund raising initiatives in place which benefit countless local charities. So be sure to mark your calendars for these fantastic events!!
Knysna Arts Festival
Knysna has long been known as a town with a thriving creative community – boasting incredible talent across multiple artistic genres. This 9-day arty affair takes place from the 1-9 October 2016, and is once again being hosted by Sotheby’s International Realty. This festival serves not only as a fantastic platform for local artists to showcase their talents but is also a way for funds to be generated in support of several worthy beneficiaries.
“We have appointed a larger team of organisers for the 2016 event to ensure that we can seamlessly grow the Knysna Arts Festival into a major destination event without it losing its Knysna flavour or independence” commented Sotheby’s International Realty principal, Peter Mare. “The underlying philosophy of this event is to stimulate locally produced art whilst also supporting the greater Knysna community”, he concluded.
The 2016 festival will be concentrated around a central 'Art Hub' at the Woodmill Walk which will be the dynamic centre of activity, with workshops, art exhibitions and several performance arts offerings including theatre, cabaret, dance and live music.
Leisure Island Festival
The Leisure Isle Festival is a feel-good annual event organised by the community – for the community. It takes place in Kingsway Park, Leisure Island on the 5 & 6 November 2016. It aims to provide local crafters and businesses a unique opportunity to showcase and sell their products, promote community spirit, and provide a venue for approved charities to raise funds.
A wide number of local businesses, organisations and individuals support this much loved local initiative. “It truly is a case of locals supporting the needs of the local community”, states the official website.
This festival is an ideal family event, with a host of activities geared towards children.
The Knysna Timber Festival
Our town is deeply rooted in timber and the Knysna Timber Festival, which takes place at the Timber Village on Welbedacht Lane from the 11 - 13 November 2016, is a fitting celebration of our heritage and is paving the way for the reawakening of Knysna's multifaceted timber culture.
The festival presents local wood crafters and master cabinet-makers with an opportunity to showcase their expertise, while also serving as an ideal platform for various businesses and brands to market their products and services. The festival is geared towards professionals in the field as well as hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts and the general public. It even caters for the little ones.
Day One: A workshop event with interesting presentations by industry professionals.
Day Two: Will feature TV personalities, DIY workshops, Timber Games, a Timber Trail Run and Kids Zone.
Day Three: Focuses on the outdoors, exquisite kitchens and timber related literature.
This year’s revered Leisure Isle Festival (fondly-known as Treasure Ilse Festival) will, as in in the past, add something special to ensure that the festival provides something for everyone on November 7 and 8.
Besides the many crafts, books and plant stalls, this year’s festival includes a very special exhibition. Brian Bruce, renowned classic car collector will display some of his privately owned classic cars. “He will be displaying classic cars dating back to the 1900s right up until the 1970s,” explained Roger Vosey, Leisure Isle Festival convener.
Bruce’s display of classic cars, currently housed in a warehouse in Knysna Industria, will include several old petrol pumps and other memorabilia sure to transport festival goers to yesteryear. Antique car enthusiasts will be astonished to see some of the rare finds that Bruce has in his collection. There is a beautiful 1923 Rolls Royce Shooting Brake as well as a Raleigh Safety Seven three-wheel car that was manufactured in the 1930s. Only 300 were originally made and today, only nine are believed to have survived. Two of the three-wheelers are in South Africa, and one of lives in Knysna. Bruce has not yet decided which cars he will place on display but assured that they would be cars with a rich history. Don’t miss this display as Bruce will be on hand to share his wealth of knowledge throughout the Leisure Isle Festival.
“Knysna & Partners are excited to have Bruce on-board. We believe that his passions for this country’s heritage and his enthusiasm for Knysna to become a global classic car enthusiast’s destination will add great value to the Leisure Isle Festival. Once again we are proud to endorse this successful local festival and believe in its recipe for success,” said Greg Vogt, Knysna & Partners CEO.
With the current state of electricity within South Africa, festival goers will be well advised to visit Baden Hall at his Solar Power display during the festival. Hall is bound to enthusiastically offer advice and information on this alternate power source.
Over 100 stalls will offer old favourites as well as new items during the festival. Two past firm favourites of the Leisure Isle Festivals, the Leisure Isle Festival Open Gardens and the Knysna Arts Society Art Exhibition have returned to the festival. “We scouted around the Island and chose six gardens to showcase during the festival,” said Voysey. “Special efforts have been made to provide emerging crafters with an opportunity to showcase their products. As in the past, the focus will be on local products and crafts with participating charities running the tea garden, book sale, a beer and wine bar and several other stalls,” said Voysey.
The Leisure Isle Festival committee of Voysey, Bob Hunt, Chris Kay, Lorr Scanlen, Niall Johnston, Peter Godsell, Peter Smith and Sheena Mare have all be extremely productive preparing for this year’s festival. A festival that they believe will outshine all.
This year’s festival charity beneficiaries are Knysna Animal Welfare Society (KAWS), e’Pap Children Feeding Scheme, Knysna/Sedgefield Hospice, Steenbok Nature Reserve, Vermont Old Age Home and Hands and Hearts Centre – incorporating Emzini.
Vosey expressed his heartfelt thanks to the festival’s founding sponsor, Sotheby’s International Realty Knysna, Knysna & Partners, leisure Isle Residents Association and the large number of organisations that provide pro”-bono services. “Without these supporters, the Leisure Isle Festival would not be possible,” he concluded.