When the stunning Ms Christy McNicol took to the stage at the Eltham Hotel on Saturday night to present her unique version of Heather Small’s iconic gay anthem, Proud, our collective goosebumps stood erect. Most of us attending the Tropical Fruit’s Party have celebrated at a few pride events over the years but this one definitely made us ‘step out of the ordinary’.
Eltham is a short drive from Lismore, or a slightly longer drive from Byron Bay, depending on your persuasion. The local, family owned hotel has a quaint, country-pub appeal, a large, outdoor beer garden and a generous dancefloor.
Usually the centre of the rural, neighbourhood social scene, on this Saturday evening it was inundated with gaiety. The staff couldn’t have made us feel more welcome and once the drinks were flowing and the music started, the night turned from winter chill to tropical toasty.
In 2019 we have a lot to be proud of. Marriage Equality is done and dusted and many have already tied the knot, some even adding offspring. The ridiculous gay panic law has been eradicated in all states and conversion therapy has finally been recognised as the callous, ‘bigoted quackery’ it really is.
Most importantly, this was the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots which we honour as the symbol of the battle for equality worldwide. Being here, still queer and staying strong was truly a cause for celebration.
At this event we were concentrating on spending quality time with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, our bisexual buddies, trans royalty and our straight mates of course.
This out and proud party was fun, friendly and fabulous and the outfits were glittering and gala to match. Experienced DJs Kylie Rose and Sammy kept the floor full ‘all night long’.
Our rhythmic dance romps were periodically punctuated by dazzling drag divas like Ms Electra and important announcements from Tropical Fruits Chairperson, Mr Brett Paradise.
While some disposed of their shirts on the dance floor, rainbow cake was being cut and served in the cocktail bar for those needing sustenance and more than just a dose of delicious eye candy.
When the music stopped and the drag queens gathered, we knew instinctively an important presentation was about to take place. Brett took to the stage once more to reveal the all important theme for the 2019 New Year’s Eve weekend.
On behalf of Tropical Fruits Inc. he summoned our entire family to be in attendance at the Haüs of Fruits, another masterpiece of merriment in the making.
At 2am, when last drinks were offered, we were still raving and rambling about the evening’s festivities and although Heather’s song says, ‘it’s never too late’, by this time, I could ‘feel my soul ascending’ and it was a cue to leave this party and start preparing for our next gathering on NYE at the famous Lismore Showgrounds.
Thank you Tropical Fruits, especially all your wonderful volunteers, for sharing your joy and celebration throughout our community. It is always most appreciated.
Know Before You Go
- Established in 1988, Tropical Fruits Inc. is the premier LGBTIQ community group in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.
- Tropical Fruits holds 3 or 4 major events throughout the year, usually coinciding with NSW public holiday weekends. See their website for more details.
- The most celebrated event on their calendar is the New Years Eve Festival weekend which stretches over three days and attracts growing numbers every year. You will need to book accommodation early for this event and camping for a limited number is available at the event site.