Grey Mardi Gras is an attention grabber

Cobar Shire Council general manager Peter Vlatko, deputy mayor Peter Abbott, mayor Lilliane Brady, State Member for Barwon Mark Coulton and Cobar Tourism staff members Kay Stingemore, Miranda Riley and John Martin are all excited about the economical benefits next year’s Grey Mardi Gras festival can bring to Cobar. Photo courtesy of Klae McGuinness Photography

An idea that came up in a Cobar Shire Council workshop, the Grey Mardi Gras, is already getting plenty of attention.

Cr Bob Sinclair’s idea for a unique festival for Cobar is also getting plenty of funding with Federal Member for Parkes Mark
Coulton visiting last week to hand over a $37,500 grant which will help kick off the festival.

Cr Sinclair suggested the idea of a Grey Mardi Gras (which is a play on words of Sydney’s Gay Mardi Gras) might be an event that would appeal to members of the ‘baby boomers’ generation.

He said there are thousands of grey nomads travelling around Australia in their retirement who are looking for interesting things to do.

Mr Coulton agreed it was a great idea.

“I’ve never heard of anything like it happening anywhere else.

“The idea has created a lot of talk about it down in parliament,” Mr Coulton said.

Council’s projects officer Miranda Riley said she was also surprised that no one else had thought of the idea.

Ms Riley and work mate Kay Stingemore tried to keep it as quiet as they could until the funding was announced for the project.

Planning has only just started for the Grey Mardi Gras to be held next April.

Ms Riley said there will be a focus on 60s and 70s music and they might also extend it to include music from the 50s and the 80s.

In addition to having a focus on music and various dance styles, part of the festival plans are for a street parade which will feature retro caravans, cars and buses.

It’s expected the festival will also appeal to car and bike clubs.

Ms Riley said they had already had a call from the Lachlan Valley Caravan Club keen to find out what’s being planned.

“They had heard about it on the radio when the funding was announced and they were ringing up and asking about it to put into their schedule next year,” she said.

Mr Coulton said the Grey Mardi Gras festival had the potential to grow like the Parkes Elvis Festival.

“Parkes went from a couple of hundred visitors the first year to attracting 20,000 people.”

He said he hoped it would be the same for Cobar’s Grey Mardi Gras.