After the cancellation of this weekend’s Wagga Mardi Gras Parade, organisers of Hay’s Rainbow on the Plains yesterday announced the cancellation of their coming event. The cancellations of these two regional Pride events come as organisers also cancelled Pride events in Los Angeles and Miami Beach.
Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras Festival
Local transgender woman Holly Conroy organised the first-ever Pride parade in Wagga Wagga just last year. In 2020, many locals looked forward to the second annual event. After the twin devastation of drought and bushfire, Holly said the event would give the community an opportunity to “come together, to re-energise, support each other, build resilience, and for one night truly escape as they enjoy the biggest party Wagga’s ever seen.”
The City of Wagga Wagga Council made the decision Friday to cancel mass gatherings and large scale events involving visitors from outside the region over the next few months.
Wagga Wagga Mayor Councillor Greg Conkey said the council made the decision following consultations with local health experts. The council hoped to slow the spread of the Coronavirus locally. That would enable the best care possible to those affected, especially the vulnerable.
Holly Conroy described the decision as disappointing but in the best interest of the community.
“We listened to the advice of health officials. We know this is a precautionary measure in the current situation.”
Despite this year’s cancellation, Holly promised the event would continue.
“We are positive about the long-term future of this event.”
Indeed, both the Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras and Hay’s Rainbow on the Plains quickly established themselves as popular events on the Australian Pride calendar.
Rainbow on the Plains
Hay hosted the inaugural Rainbow on the Plains Festival in March 2018. Organisers initially envisaged a gathering of 40 friends to watch the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on television. However, the concept quickly expanded into a three-day festival.
Rainbow on the Plains announced the cancellation of this year’s event yesterday.
“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the cancellation of Rainbow on the Plains festival 2020.”
Organisers said they made the decision after considering the best health information available.
“Our community is currently free of any confirmed cases of COVID-19, and we feel a huge responsibility to help keep it that way.”
The popularity of both events is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the organisers in both communities. It also speaks to the support those organisers obviously enjoy in their communities. Both deserve commendation for making the right call despite the personal devastation they must feel.
Last week, of course, a Rabbi in Israel attributed blame for the COVID-19 pandemic to divine retribution for Pride parades. But Rabbi Meir Mazuz’s words must be considered as part of his battle to prove himself the most right-wing and conservative Orthodox Jewish leader. As in other countries and other religions, proving yourself ridiculous is usually ample qualification for the role.
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