Celebrations of diversity and inclusion will be in full swing this weekend with the ChillOut Festival expected to attract thousands of visitors to Daylesford.

The celebrations were quietly started this week with the installation of the Big Rainbow at Victoria Park. The Big Rainbow was launched at a ceremony on Thursday afternoon.

“Hepburn Shire is known for its diverse community, and the Big Rainbow symbolises our inclusiveness, respect and pride for our LGBTIQA+ community and allies,” said Mayor, Cr
Hood. “The Big Rainbow will be a major attraction for visitors, in particular during the upcoming ChillOut festival, regional Australia’s largest and most popular LGBTIQA+
event,” said Cr Hood.

Chillout Street Parade. (Photos: Michelle Donelly)

The acquisition and siting of the Big Rainbow has been controversial and Cr Hood acknowledged that the decision by councillors was complex. “Perhaps the most persuasive argument came from the Chair of our LGBTIQA+ committee, Cr Tessa Halliday, who drew the sharp distinction between the needs of younger members of that community and their older counterparts who had trod down the path of acceptance and inclusion,” said Cr Hood at the Rainbow launch. “If the rainbow structure signifies acceptance and “you are safe here” to the younger generation then it is welcome. I hope over time the rainbow is accepted and taken for what it is. A symbol of support, respect and acceptance,” he said.

The ChillOut Festival began in 1997 and has grown to become a nationally celebrated LGBTIQA+ pride event, supporting and representing this important part of our community.

The annual ChillOut Parade, a highlight of the Festival, will be held on Sunday morning at 10:00 am in Vincent Street.

The full program of ChillOut events throughout the Labour Day weekend is available online.