The Margaret River community was a sea of colour on Saturday afternoon as residents and visitors to the region joined together on the lawns of the Augusta Margaret River Shire offices to celebrate the town’s first public same sex marriage ceremony.
Scores of families enjoyed a day of stunning weather and the variety of entertainment on offer for the inaugural Margi Gras festival, with many attendees commenting on the smooth organisation of the festival despite the committee having just a few weeks to turn the idea into a full realised event.
A wedding procession for brides-to-be Sunny and Rebecca Hannan saw a fleet of sleek vintage autos cruising up the Margaret River main street carrying the bright pink bridesmaids of the Perth Drag Queens troupe.
As the party arrived at the wedding venue the crowd of family, friends and well wishers cheered the local couple who took their place under the rainbow-decked wedding arbour alongside celebrant Joan Kent, who conducted the Hannans’ commitment ceremony back in 2005.
Proving that the spirit of equality is alive and well in the region, the crowd lined up to congratulate the duo, many total strangers keen to join in the celebratory vibe surrounding the festival’s guests of honour.
MC Jordan Bruno kept the action moving from the balcony of the Shire offices overlooking the festival grounds, where entertainers and musicians continued the party as the sun set over the town.
Margaret River-based musician Noah Shilkin donned the electric pink tux and obligatory oversized glasses for a surprise performance as icon Elton John, and had everyone singing along to favourites Your Song and Benny and the Jets.
The Perth Drag Queens – Scarlet Adams, Veronica Jean Jones, Katya Kokov, Perri Oxide and Donna Kebab – proved well worth the wait as they brought the house down with their choreographed renditions of Pride-flavoured classics like I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Finally, Dear Future Husband and of course, It’s Raining Men.
The party continued into the night at the River Hotel’s conveniently-located and warmly-hosted Margi Gras After Party, where the Perth Drag Queens again wowed fans with their colourful costumes and tongue-in-cheek take on pop favourites.
Margi Gras is set to return in 2019, with organisers promising another community-oriented celebration and a keen focus on promoting the region’s wedding industry to the already-booming same sex marriage market.
Photos: Nicky Lefebvre & James Bunting