7992244166_4beb3cde18_cThe biggest event for the Brisbane LGBTI community is returning this year with perhaps its biggest news since its inception in the 1990s. The annual Brisbane Pride Festival (BPF) Fair Day will be held in one of the city’s predominantly queer suburbs, New Farm, and the subsequent march that leads down to the festivities will take advantage of a new, highly visible and public route.

Brisbane Pride Festival made the announcement earlier this month that the much-loved Fair Day would be held for the first time in the central and prime location of New Farm Park and the Pride March would encompass a route along one of the city’s most well known streets, Brunswick Street.

“The move to New Farm Park is a welcome one for the BPF. [It’s] a very central location for our community,” BPF President Deeje Hancock told the Star Observer.

“New Farm Park as an iconic centre of our community for many years seems to be a universally popular choice and we will look for feedback from the community after this year’s event.”

The march and Fair Day – that take place during the BPF month of September – have always been the most well-attended and popular events on the Brisbane LGBTI calendar. The advantages of its new location and march route is seen as a major coup for the community for visibility and co-operation between the BPF, the police and the Brisbane City Council.

“We love the new rally and march route. Holding the rally in the centre of the Valley will give us a visibility on a Saturday morning that rivals any from years before,” Hancock said.

“And the march route straight down Brunswick Street gives us a fabulous opportunity to showcase our community to businesses and residents alike along this iconic route.

“As always Queensland Police have been wonderful in their support and recognition of the significance of this event, and along with Councillor Howard’s office have been integral in assisting to achieve these new routes and venues.”

The public support of the BPF and in particular, the financial support offered to the BPF from the Brisbane City Council has attracted some criticism from the community for apparent ‘misuse’ of public funds, with one detractor accusing the Festival of being “a simulated orgy under the guise of a parade” and another starting a petition to protest the financial backing.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinions and the gentleman that got that petition up is as entitled to his as much as anybody else,” Hancock said.

“I would respectfully invite him to actually attend and speak to people…and community groups about how community based events like this one can assist with feelings of inclusion and the advancement of mental wellness before attacking this event in the future.”

The BPF Pride month kicks off on August 30 with a gala opening held at the Cloudland bar in Fortitude Valley, with dozens of events taking place over the month of September. The Pride March and Fair Day will be held on Saturday, September 21.

More info: brisbanepridefestival.com.au

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