Queensland drag star Candy Surprise has been inducted into the Sportsman Hotel’s Drag Hall of Fame in an emotional farewell to the Brisbane venue.
Candy, a.k.a. Brisbane entertainer Paul Jay, has performed across Queensland for 19 years. In the coming weeks, Paul is moving to Canada with his partner Sam and their family.
And on Friday night, the beloved performer hosted Balls Out Bingo at Sporties one last time, after five years of hosting the fundraiser.
After the game, a lineup of fellow Drag Hall of Famers paid tribute to Candy as the Sportsman Hotel team surprised her with the honour.
“You have no idea what this means to me,” Candy said.
“I’ve worked in this community for so many years, just to share the love.
“Never did I think that my name would be up on the Hall of Fame wall, with the people that I first saw up on stage and that I’ve worked with.
“I also do theatre and all sorts of things. But it’s within this community people have said, you’ve got something and you can be what you want to be. I really appreciate that.”
Drag Hall of Famers Wanda D’Parke, Dame Liz Taylor, Miss Synthetique and Betty Nature also exchanged emotional speeches with Candy on the Sportsman Hotel stage.
Wanda said Candy is a dear friend and is “so deserving” of the Hall of Fame honour.
“I love you to pieces and we have done some amazing shows together. Candy and I have had an amazing run,” she said.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know we will work together again, wherever we are. I wish you and your family all the very best.”
Miss Synthetique recalled the first time she and Candy met, working together at a karaoke night. She said Candy “always wanted to be on the microphone.”
“Candy always says she’s my daughter, and I love her dearly,” Miss Synthetique said.
“We choose our own family in this community and Candy, you are one of my family.
“I wish you all the best in the world, as do all of your family here at the Sportsman Hotel.”
‘The community loves you and we will miss you so much’
Queensland AIDS Council president Peter Black and Balls Out Bingo organiser Jan Thwaites also thanked Candy for her tireless fundraising.
Black said in the last three years alone Candy has raised over $80,000 for QuAC’s unfunded programs across the state.
“On behalf of the Queensland AIDS council and the wider LGBTIQ community, we love you,” he said.
“We are so grateful for what you’ve done for us, hosting Balls Out Bingo and so many other events.
“You’ve been so selfless with your time and generous with your love for the community.
“The community loves you back and we are going to miss you so much.”
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