Monique Thorpe

WE are only a few short sleeps away from the opening of the 26th annual Midsumma Festival, and the excitement is palpable. Not only in our little beehive of an office, but also on the streets.

We have had such great feedback so far about the look and feel of the program and the quality and nature of the events.

2014 sees 131 events happening in and around Melbourne that are being produced for the LGBTI community and will be enjoyed by not only us, but also our allied friends, family members, colleagues and neighbours.

It was with immense pride that we launched the program in early December and it is now hard to believe that the time has come to commence the festival this weekend.

Midsumma will open with Carnival at Alexandra Gardens on Sunday, January 12. We are back in the venue where many, including myself, experienced our very first Carnival.

It’s hard to pinpoint why Carnival is so special, but I strongly believe that it is because the day means so many different things to so many different people.

For some it is a day out with the family where they are not the only same-sex parents in the park. For others it is an annual catch-up with friends from far-flung places, and for others it is a day where we celebrate together that fact that our community is diverse, talented and ever-growing in both numbers and support.

It is also a day to be informed and to taste test the other events that will be happening over the next three weeks of festival. A chance to chat to sporting clubs about their upcoming events, see performers on stage showcasing what is to come and speak to community stallholders about the many social and community events that are a part of Midsumma 2014.

So, when you are deciding what to wear to Carnival, be sure to decide on something with pockets. Use Carnival as a way to map out the rest of your festival experience. Take brochures, flyers and notice of all the colour and noise around you, because Carnival is only the beginning of Midsumma. The following three weeks will blow you away.

Monique Thorpe is Midsumma’s Festival Manager

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