A marching band playing Lady Gaga’s Born This Way had a large crowd cheering in support as gay pride swamped Daylesford on Sunday.
The 20th annual Queer Country Pride ChillOut Festival parade was yet again a colourful hit, as elderly Hepburn House Aged Care residents marched besides young children representing Rainbow Families Victoria.
Drag queens mingled with Victoria Police representatives while Wizard of Oz costumes proved popular with many of the participants, in keeping with the Emerald Village theme of the event.
Val Clark, 76, was one of 20 Hepburn House Aged Care residents who took part in the parade wearing emerald green wigs and clothing to support both the event and their diverse staff.
“It was a bit of fun,” she said.
Trentham Leading Senior Constable Sharon Radau said police were marching in the parade for the first time in 20 years in support of their LGBTIQ community, with representatives coming from Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh, Northcote and the Daylesford region stations.
Daylesford Acting Sergeant Lesley Glenn said: “we are supporting diversity and our LGBTIQ friends and associates and workmates”.
Ballarat MP Catherine King was spotted in the parade walking under the Labor Rainbow banner , along with local city councillor Belinda Coates who was marching with the Greens Party.
Carla Wilson came from Melbourne for her first ChillOut Festival and said it was “amazing”.
I just wanted to be a part of this – look at all the colourful people and the dogs, I love the dogs,” she said.
Friend Sachin Naidoo, from Ballarat, agreed.
“It’s been great,” he said.
The Pink Magies, aligned with the Collingwood AFLW team, proved very popular as they marched down Vincent Stret, drawing lots of shouts of “go the maggies”.
The ChillOut Festival also featured a carnival day from 11am to 7pm, including bands on the main stage, circus shows, magic, a dog show, boot scooting, all day games, forums and demonstrations and a DJ dance party.