Since humble beginnings in 2000, The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival is a fixture on the annual Knysna calendar in April / May and has also become one of the most dynamic and exciting LGBTQ+ celebrations in the world.
Started to boost a slow winter economy
The Knysna Pink Loerie festival was started by local businessmen to attract tourists to Knysna during the traditionally slow month of May – reinvigorating the local economy – and it grew to be a world-class event. Organisers envisioned a Knysna event that would emulate famous Pride events around the world that celebrate diversity – akin to the famous Sydney Mardi Gras.
Colourful exhibitions, gatherings, performances, art shows and dance parties put Knysna on the LGBTI+ international map. Africa’s first same-sex wedding was held here when 16 couples tied the knot in Knysna.
The highlight of this Festival has always been the parade down Main Road, now known as Knysna Pride. The pavements are packed with people of every age, colour and creed and it is a festive afternoon of fun and laughter – and some great costumes!
The grand finale of the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras – the parade and after-party – is held on the final weekend and it attracts floats, performers, DJs and flocks of spectators from out of town. Restaurants are packed, art galleries (link to Knysna art in various forms) are full and with lots of things to do in the area, festival visitors are spoilt for choice.
Always finding ways to give back to the community, their efforts were recognised when the Pink Loerie Foundation received the Community Outreach Award during the Annual 92.2 FM Eastwave Radio Nelson Mandela International Day Community Leadership Awards.
Proud host of Mr Gay World events
Knysna is fortunate to have hosted both the Mr Gay World™ 2015 and the Mr Gay World™ 2018. South Africa is the only country that has hosted the event five times between 2012 and 2020 – with two of these occasions being held in Knysna, only a 491km scenic drive away from Cape Town.
Stay in touch for the latest news
For more information and regular updates, visit www.pinkloerie.co.za.