Ballarat's celebration of the queer community, the Frolic Festival, brought plenty of colour for its carnival day on Saturday, the beginning of a big weekend program.
As well as musicians sharing the stage with drag queen performances, there was a lot to see and do, but speaking to attendees and organisers, the biggest highlight was the wider community's embrace of the festival, which is now in its third year.
Festival director Benjamin Ashe said the strength was in the range of the program - the family-friendly carnival day, or the Indigenous walk along the Yarrowee Trail, contrasted the karaoke and disco night or drag shows.
"The thing about Ballarat being a smaller country town is that we don't have enough LGBT people to split up into little groups like they do in Melbourne and big cities, so when we put on events here, it's events for everyone," he said.
"We want everyone to feel accepted, and have a good time together - for people who might not know any other LGBT people, it shows we're regular people, we're families, we're older people, younger people, all through society."
Renee Jennings was running the carnival day, and despite a late-arriving marquee - and the classically Ballarat weather - she judged it a success, and was full of praise for her team of volunteers.
"It feels really good to be part of it, there's a lot of pride about being able to organise this and offer it to the people of Ballarat," she said.
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"It's something that's needed, and overdue, and obviously the community thinks the same."
One of those volunteers was Steven Campbell - he was the site manager on the day, helping out at his first festival after attending last year.
"If you said 10 years ago we were going to have an LGBT-friendly, family-friendly event in the middle of Ballarat, people would have said you're crazy, but here we are," he said.
That's a sentiment echoed by the stars of Granny Bingo, Maureen McGillicuddy and Edith Vale - characters brought to life by Kyle Minall and Thomas Jaspers.
Darlings of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, while much of their bawdy humour is sadly unprintable, they brought their take on balls-out bingo to a sold-out crowd.
"I also think it's really exciting that these festivals are happening in regional areas - we've got Mardi Gras in Sydney, Midsummer in Melbourne, and that's wonderful, but it's really important we create events like this so LGBTI people feel comfortable in their own home cities and can stay in those cities," Ms Vale said.
"It's been a problem for a very long time, and to come here as well is important for us because Edith's grandson Thomas studied here at Ballarat Uni," Ms McGillicuddy added.
"Yes, 12 years ago, and he cannot imagine having a wonderful festival like Frolic even just 10 years ago," Ms Vale replied.
"Nor did he imagine 10 years ago when he was studying to be an actor that he'd be dressed as an old lady hosting a bingo night," Ms McGillicuddy smirked.
The festival also featured an expanded marketplace, with stalls from queer creators as well as community groups.
Melbourne's Proud Minority, run by Luka Wild, popped up in Ballarat for the first time for the carnival.
"It started with me trying to screenprint a few T-shirts for a couple of my friends, we were doing a few marches around Melbourne," they said.
"The best thing is seeing everyone's face when they've never seen it before, they just light up - that's always made it worth it.
"There's not a lot of places where queer folk can go and buy something they feel comfortable rocking, and that's what I aim to do."
Frolic Festival continues until November 13, with a cabaret night at The Printer's Room on Tuesday night and post-festival drinks on Wednesday night - check out the full program online.
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