Hundred attend Winsome's big night

By RACHEL SCOLLAY

IN 1969 Katie Blume's great grandfather saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary at the Winsome Pub. The 90-year-old never drank again, Katie said.

"I'm sixth generation from Lismore and the fourth generation of my family to drink at this pub," said Katie, who was one of hundreds at the opening bash on Saturday night.

While virgins might have been thin on the ground, the reigning Ms Tregeagle 2005 was there in full finery, including a tiara and regal gown.

"I represent Tregeagle, which is the capital of the Northern Rivers," said Nora VidlerBlanksby.

"And I will only ever go to stellar events and launches that are attended by the who's who. And tonight is one of those."

Not an idle claim, with some people braving the cold for almost two hours in a queue, while inside there were poledancers, and out the back trapeze artists framed the firework show. But those waiting in line weren't totally ignored as they were first to be interviewed when gay icon and mistress of ceremonies Vanessa Wagner rocked up on a ride-on mower.

"This is going to be a very upmarket establishment," said Nora.

"It is gay owned and operated and will be catering for those who want the very best.

"You've only got to look at the doors. They're worth a fortune."

Katie was also impressed by what she saw.

"I was at the Winsome opening in 1999. I think it looks really beautiful, the changes that they've made. I love the fact that there's no pokies," she said, pointing at a wall now adorned with a fish tank.

"It creates a different vibe. It will be great when it's finished."

Wyrallah Road butcher Terry Sly was there enjoying the party with his wife Deborah.

"The hospitality is A1," he said.

"The music, the atmosphere. You've got all different people here. It's good that they are catering for everyone. Lismore needs a place like this."

"It looks like somewhere in Paddington," said Deborah.

"It's so clean and ele- gant. It's a shame we told the babysitter we'd be home early."

Terry racked up for a game on the pool table Peter Contojohn had been busy putting together just minutes earlier.

And Peter wasn't the only tradesman working the late shift amongst the party guests.

Electrician Charlie Davies knocked off around 8.30pm.

"I only started at 6am this morning," he said.

"The three other electricians on today worked until 3am last night and were here again this morning at seven.

"It's been a really good place to work, even though it's been full-on. The tradesmen have been falling over each other trying to get the job done.

"It wasn't even painted this morning and all the lights were put in today."

Charlie said he would return to party another night.

"I hope it works. I know most people see it as a gay pub but I would hate to see straight people being too shy to come. I went to the Winsome when it was open last time and I thought it was fantastic."



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