Details have been revealed for what would be the first ever Mardi Gras-style celebration to take place in Orange.
Plans to hold the Rainbow City Festival were cancelled three years in a row between 2020 and 2022 due to pandemic-driven concerns, while no event was planned for 2023.
But after Orange City Council secured $125,800 in funding from the NSW Government to celebrate and support LGBTQIA+ people, it appeared that string of bad fortune would soon be over with an event planned for late February/early March 2024.
At the December 5 council meeting, the project and its importance for the community was discussed.
Councillor David Mallard pointed to "recent events" which reminded him that "transphobia and homophobia still exist in our community unfortunately".
"We need to do what we can to support that community, to be allies and promote acceptance and inclusion," he said.
"I think it's going to be a great thing. I hope that we'll have as many councillors out there engaging with it as possible."
Also voicing her support for the festival was councillor Tammy Greenhalgh.
"I think it will be absolutely fabulous event," she added.
"Everyone in our community has the right to be themselves and if we get the support of the local schools like we did with the Nutbush in the park, I think it's about educating this generation and about acceptance."
Although a specific date has not yet been finalised, some details about what to expect from the event have been revealed.
According to documents prepared for the council meeting, the festival would be held in Robertson Park and McNamara Lane and run over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Some of the elements included are markets, mental health stalls, a parade and disco.
Councillor Mel McDonell thought it was a fantastic idea.
"It is unfortunate that there is some hatred and discrimination in the community directed towards our LGBTQI+ members," she said.
"They're at massively increased risk of every kind of violence you could imagine and I think this is a good opportunity for us as a council and as a community to show that we do support every member of our community and it is a safe place to live and grow up."
A working party made up of community members, Youth Action Council, Sincerely Queer members and business owners has been established to organise and deliver the festival, with Orange 360 to assist.
The cost to council will be limited to staff time for the planning and conduct of the event.