CHILLING OUT: Gathered at The Shirley Big Top ahead of Tropical Fruits New Year’s Eve celebrations are, from left, Rikki Thomas, Ed Gilding, Sean Halloran, Benjamin Williams and Tom Shaw, all of whom are from Brisbane.
CHILLING OUT: Gathered at The Shirley Big Top ahead of Tropical Fruits New Year’s Eve celebrations are, from left, Rikki Thomas, Ed Gilding, Sean Halloran, Benjamin Williams and Tom Shaw, all of whom are from Brisbane. Cathy Adams

Man goes bananas for Fruit

CELEBRATING 25 years in the Northern Rivers "Rainbow Region", the annual Tropical Fruits New Year's Eve Festival is becoming an internationally known event.

Brisbane-based Benjamin Williams said it was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate diversity, meet new people and catch up with old friends.

"It's just that one week of the year where we find some grounding and live in this place where there's just this brotherhood and this sisterhood," he said.

"Most of my best mates, I have met at Tropical Fruits over the past 10 years."

Rikki Thomas has travelled from Melbourne to attend his ninth year at the festival.

"Two friends from Melbourne brought me here nine years ago," he said.

"It was an amazing sense of unity and acceptance and there was none of the pretence that the city holds.

"In terms of the party as well, I think it's very well organised and well structured and most people feel quite safe there and the small business owners in town are hugely welcoming to us."

Brighton residents Tim Nash and Tom Hamilton spent 24 hours on a flight from the UK to attend the event.

"We've got some friends in Brighton, who have come to this, and they didn't really know what they were getting into, they just sort of stumbled across it and just got swept up into the crowd."

Mr Nash said the relatively small size of the event compared to similar events in the UK meant there was much more of a "community feel".

"I think when we go back and talk about this people will want to come," he said.



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