Emphasis on fun: The Tropical Fruits team preparing for Fruitopia at the Lismore Showground on Sunday are (from left) Hannah Rice-Hayes, Susi St Julian, Jinky Mactal and Thomas Churchyard.
Emphasis on fun: The Tropical Fruits team preparing for Fruitopia at the Lismore Showground on Sunday are (from left) Hannah Rice-Hayes, Susi St Julian, Jinky Mactal and Thomas Churchyard. Cathy Adams

Fruitopia billed as family day

IT’S TIME to hunt out that recipe for the perfect cheesecake and groom the family dog, say organisers of this Sunday’s Fruitopia – billed as a spring country fair day at the Lismore Showground.

For the first time Tropical Fruits, which stages the annual world-renowned gay and lesbian New Year’s Eve party at the showground, is holding a family picnic day and is inviting the wider Northern Rivers community to grab a blanket and come along.

“There is a bit of a buzz around it now that we have done some advertising, so I think it will take off and be a real fun day,” said co-ordinator Susi St Julian.

“It’s a family day and it’s free apart from a $2 entry fee for events.”

Still, Ms St Julian admits it’s a bit of a departure from their regular events where party-goers dance into the wee hours.

“Most of our parties are late night with alcohol, no dogs and no kids,” she said. “We wanted to do a daytime event that incorporates a whole lot of our people and to invite Lismore along to see how we celebrate things.”

“It’s a way of pulling the community together, not just the gay and lesbian community, but the wider community.”

To add to the carnival atmosphere, organisers are encouraging everyone to get dressed up in their ‘fruity best’.

And while there won’t be a mirror ball or strobe light in sight, Ms St Julian said there would be more than enough to keep the crowd entertained throughout the day, including live music, DJs, food, craft and bric-a-brac stalls, children’s races, a bake-off and, of course, the obligatory dog show.

Always a popular event, the dog show that kicks off at 10am will beco-hosted by Lismore’s very own award-winning drag queen Maude Boate and the city’s flamboyant official Living Legend, Lismore’s Nora Vidler-Blanksby.

With a look-a-like competition, an obstacle course and musical hay bales, the dog show is tipped to be one of the most popular events.

“If people don’t want to go in the events,” pipes in stage manager Jinky Mactal, “we encourage them to bring a blanket, lay it down, and just soak up the magic and fun.”

Ms St Julian said that over the last couple of days people had wanted to know if the event was ‘PG’.

“Our intention is for everyone to have fun,” she said.

“We will find a happy medium. We certainly don’t want to offend and the parents are going to be right there to explain it all.”

Speaking of children, she said there would be classic, and not so classic, kid’s games such as egg and spoon races, sack races, handbag tossing competitions and drag races.


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