MIDSUMMA has announced its two champions for the 2016 Midsumma Festival.

Australian icon and former cabaret performer Carlotta is slated to be a festival champion alongside former David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra.

Both champions will also be hosting their own events during the festival.

Zahra said he had fond memories of Midsumma from when he was younger.

“As a boy from Melbourne, Midsumma brings back so many happy memories of long hot summer days,” he said.

“Also the fabulous parade and parties of celebration of the LGBTI community whilst remembering the road we have already travelled on this journey to equality.

“I feel it’s an honour and privilege to be chosen as a champion for the 2016 Midsumma Festival.”

During the festival Zahra will hold an intimate lunchtime event where he will share insight into what it takes to run an ASX 200 Company and why he believes CEOs should not be scared to be themselves.

Meanwhile, Carlotta will perform her show Carlotta: Queen of the Cross, bringing her legendary feather fan and wit to Midsumma.

“What Midsumma means to me is to celebrate who we are and our right to freedom to express our diversity,” she said.

“Being Midsumma Festival champion is such an honour… the organisation do a tremendous job in bringing together a fabulous pride festival for Victorians.”

The 2016 Midsumma festival program was launched earlier this month and includes a host of events, shows, and activities for Melbourne’s LGBTI community to immerse themselves in.

As well as the festival’s annual Carnival Day and Pride March, the 2016 National Water Polo League will also hold a Pride Cup.

Melbourne cabaret and drag icon Dolly Diamond will also perform an intimate venue and will turn the usual theatre experience on its head.

Queer artist Gavin Roach will explore what it takes to be a gay man in the millennial age in his show The Measure of a Man, while the Melbourne Queer Film Festival will present screenings of classic John Waters films.

The Midsumma Festival celebrates Melbourne’s diverse gender and sexuality through arts and culture and will run from January 17 – February 7. The Star Observer is a proud media partner of Midsumma.

For more information visit Midsumma’s website or flick through the guide below:

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