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Emotions and elation at inaugural Margi Gras

I have spent the better part of the summer working on a beautiful event called Margi Gras.

Emotions were high and the 700-strong crowd elated at Margaret River’s first Margi Gras proudly sponsored by The River Hotel.

Attendees witnessed the region’s first public same-sex wedding on February 10, 2018, when Rebecca Hannan married her long-term partner Sunny Michelle Hannan at the free event that came to fruition as a celebration of equality.

Margi Gras 2017

Margi Gras Sunny Michelle and Rebecca Hannan with Perth Drag Queens. Photo: Jennifer Eliot

The bridal party, along with Perth Drag Queens, arrived in style to the Margaret River Cultural Centre Lawns via a 12-car motorcade that included a 1939 Buick, a black 1950 Mark V Jaguar, a 1955 Mustang, a pink 1960 Thunderbird, a red 1966 Thunderbird convertible à la Thelma and Louise, a grey and white 1964 Chevrolet Belair and a red 1967 Buick Wildcat Sting.

The pair was married under the gazebo in front of the Augusta Margaret River Shire building that was styled with sashes of colour fabric and beautiful fresh flowers and foliage by Miriam Avery.

Photo: Jennifer Eliot

Margi Gras founder Rebecca Hannan said the day could not have been any better.

“The support shown by the community has been nothing short of overwhelming – there were 55 businesses that came on board and a dedicated committee who helped pull it all together,” the professional speaker, coach and trainer said.

“It really made me feel proud to be a member of this community and I’m honoured so many came out to celebrate equality and be a part of our wedding.

“I think Margi Gras has shown that Margaret River is a welcoming place for LGBTI holidays and a wonderful destination for same-sex weddings – I highly recommend it!” laughed Rebecca.

The crowd roared when Sunny thanked all those who voted ‘yes’ during speeches.

Perth Drag Queens entertained the crowds. Photo: Jennifer Eliot

Margi Gras’ MC Jordan Bruno who recently won Mr Gay Pride Australia said Margi Gras was a very special event.

“I love Western Australia and Margaret River and I’m really honoured and proud to be involved in Margi Gras, which sends are really strong message that everyone is entitled to be themselves,” said Jordan, an LGBTI activist and ambassador and a semi-finalist on MKR 2016.

“I feel like we’ve witnessed a little bit of history watching the region’s first same-sex wedding – the whole event had such an amazing vibe.”

Margi Gras 2018

Rebecca Hannan, Jordan Bruno, Sunny Michelle Hannan. Photo: Jennifer Eliot

People signed the dedicated Margi Gras Love and Messages wall, ate delicious food by Willow Grill, drank MargiGras-Rita cocktails and Queer Beer and enjoyed the entertainment by Perth Drag Queens, a surprise Elton John act, Bellyvision belly dancers and the Margaret River Big Band. Children’s entertainment included Kaptain Quirk as Bubble Man, unicorn rides and a giant bouncy castle. Ed Scissorhands added glitter to hair and faces to create a Margi Gras look.

The newly weds were given a cheerful send off with attendees eagerly forming a 100-metre long human archway.

Perth Drag Queens Creative Director Scarlet Adams said she immediately said yes when asked to be involved in Margi Gras.

“Margi Gras is such a fabulous event and the crowd at the After Party were one of the best we’ve performed in front of. We had a ball and can’t wait for next year already!”

Photo: Kelly Harwood Photography

The party continued until late at The River Hotel to a near-capacity crowd as the troupe of five from Perth Drag Queens had the place rocking and everyone dancing as they performed numbers that included ‘It’s raining men’ by Gerri Halliwell, ‘Stop’ by the Spice Girls, ‘Turn back time’ by Cher, ‘Get outta my way’ by Kylie Minogue and ‘It’s my party’ by Jessie J.

The River Hotel business partner Phil Thompson said that Margi Gras was a terrific addition to the region.

“The event was fantastic – we’re thrilled to be a part of it and I’m looking forward to future events,” Phil said.

The night ended with local Mick Marlin from Cape Thunderbirds dressed as Dame Edna Everage being crowned the Queen of Margi Gras, winning the competition.

Visit www.margigras.com.au for more information.

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