NSW’s ‘colour city’ Orange just hosted its first ever Pride

Parade crowd at Orange Rainbow Festival in regional NSW
Image: courtesy of Orange City Council

Hundreds have marched through the regional New South Wales city of Orange during the “colour city’s” inaugural Rainbow Festival.

The city’s first Pride event, in central west New South Wales, kicked off on Friday and hosted events over the weekend.

Marchers wore bright colours and waved rainbow flags and signs for a joyful pride parade through the centre of town on Saturday afternoon.

Orange mayor Jason Hamling told the crowd the region is “a diverse community with many tribes, but we are one community.”

“Everyone who lives here deserves the same opportunity to feel they belong,” he said.

After the festival, he said the event was a huge success, and Saturday’s grey skies “couldn’t dampen the spirit of festivalgoers”.

“In my 20 years on Orange City Council, one of my proudest moments to date was to march as Orange Mayor in the inaugural Rainbow Festival,” he said.

Homophobic campaign targeting festival backfires

The Orange Rainbow Festival’s success came after a homophobic campaign to cancel the entire festival.

Orange councillor Kevin Duffy put forward a motion to pull all council support and resources from the event.

“Sexuality, gender and identity are not jurisdictions or charters of the Orange City Council, ideologies that we should be nowhere near,” Duffy told a March 5 meeting.

But supporters hit back. Thousands signed a petition backing the event.

Record crowds packed the council chambers with rainbow flags and signs. Queer locals spoke directly to councillors on the importance of the regional LGBTQI+ event.

Orange’s council overwhelmingly voted the motion down in a 10-2 vote.

Organisers said the homophobic campaign targeting the Rainbow Festival only boosted the turnout. Many of the events sold out.

Mayor Hamling wrote on Facebook, “The festival was a huge success. So many people have personally spoken of their gratitude and joy at what the festivities meant for our LGBTQI+ community.

“I hope this is the first of many more to come.”

Check out more Orange Rainbow Festival photos below:


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A post shared by David Mallard (@davidmallardorange)


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A post shared by Dr Amanda Cohn (@amandacohn.greens)


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A post shared by David Mallard (@davidmallardorange)

More on rainbow pride across the country:

Locals rally to support Orange’s first Pride after backlash

Gold Coast Pride Festival is getting even bigger this year

Kimberley Blak Pride returns in April as a week-long festival

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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