Lismore’s annual LGBTIQ festival, Tropical Fruits, turns 30 tonight with Shine the theme of its annual New Year’s Eve Party.
But the festivities kicked off two days ago (Saturday December 29) at the festival launch, preceded by the region’s biggest ever Pride parade.
The infamous Dykes on Bikes kicked off a parade of an estimated 1,350 LGBTIQ locals and visitors alike, with Lismore mayor Isaac Smith joining the fun in a blue convertible.
Costumes ranged from sexily decorated fruit boxes to sassily tagged umbrellas, with ‘less is more being’ the order of the hot and humid afternoon.
The parade proceeded past hundreds of onlookers before arriving at Lismore City Hall, where Mayor Smith’s formal welcome kicked off several hours of partying.
Tonight’s event, with six dance spaces at the Lismore Showgrounds, will be a far cry from the early days of Tropical Fruits, which held its glittering but low-key events in small local halls.
The group was set up as a social lifeline after many gay men in particular moved to the region during the AIDS crisis, to live out their final days in relative tranquillity.
The arrival of anti-viral treatments soon after means many of those elders will be partying tonight, along with plenty of locals and visitors who have yet to reach the 30-year milestone that Fruits has achieved.