LISMORE has provided a refreshing welcome for hundreds of gay and lesbian tourists who took part in the Tropical Fruits festival.
More than two decades of colourful New Year’s Eve parties hosted by the Northern Rivers gay and lesbian community resulted in a highly polished affair this year, with every attendee calling it ‘the best ever’.
But the greatest joy was marvelling at a host city that didn’t look sideways at the often outrageous characters that attended.
Brisbane drag queen Joshua Cavanagh, alias Penny Drops, was the volunteer co-ordinator for this year’s festival and had nothing but praise for Lismore.
A walk down Molesworth Street in all his colourful gear failed to attract much notice, which came as a surprise.
“This town goes open arms for us and we go open arms for it,” he said. “The level of passion and growth and energy here you won’t find in any capital city.”
Mark Power, president of the Forster-based Coastal Castaways, said compared with the Mid-North Coast, where homosexuality was treated with horror, Lismore was a breath of fresh air.
“Where we come from our lifestyle has been forced underground. That’s why we’re called the castaways,” he said. “People there are not as educated as the Lismore community.”
Mr Power said the highlight of the Tropical Fruits party was the host of 70s and 80s retro groove from outrageous DJ Kitty Glitter.
For others it was the huge fireworks display, which culminated in a giant burst of light.
“It was like a golden shower,” said Brisbane party-goer Glenn Baylis. “Actually, that’s not the best way to describe it. It was more like a golden chandelier.”