Crowds of people waving rainbow flags walk towards the camera along Beach Road, Christies Beach.

Published on 22 February 2023

Southern pride

This Saturday sees the return of the annual Southern Pride March and Family Fun Day at Christies Beach, which fittingly coincides with another iconic event in Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.

LGBTIQA+ community members, family, friends and allies both young and old are invited to attend the free event, with the march starting at 2pm at the Original Open Market Reserve (121 Beach Road) and concluding at Rotary Park at 2:30pm where a range of entertainment, fun and games will kick on until 6pm.

Onkaparinga Now reached out to organisers, Pride of the South (PoTS), to find out more about this year’s march, the event’s history, and how people can get involved in other local LGBTIQA+ events throughout the year.

ONKAPARINGA NOW (O NOW): What can people expect at this year’s event?

PRIDE OF THE SOUTH (PoTS): This year we’re excited to offer more varied and colourful entertainment than ever, including Kleo Fox, our MC, and the Sonic Divas, who we welcome back from last year’s event, as well as new performers Sir Linsky Styles, Australian Idol contestant Emerauld, and Sambo. We’ll also host a wide range of stalls including rainbow-friendly community organisations and sellers, free face painting, dancing come-and-try sessions and a kids’ play area.

O NOW: Why is it such an important event to the south and its LGBTIQ communities?

PoTS: The Southern Pride March is the biggest event of the year for the rainbow community in Southern Adelaide, providing a loving, vibrant and welcoming atmosphere for our people to gather together and form community bonds with both individuals and LGBTIQ-friendly organisations. A wide range of LGBTIQ community members, family, friends and allies both young and old attend the march, visiting the stalls and enjoying the live entertainment, joy, colour and positivity of our free and inclusive event.

O NOW: Tell us a bit about the Southern Pride March and its history?

PoTS: Pride of the South was formed in 2015 and we had our first event, participation in the Adelaide Pride March, in November of that year. In January 2016, a community gathering took place in Rotary Park, Christies Beach, followed by two community picnics later in 2016 in Old Noarlunga, and the first Southern Pride March in November of that year to coincide with Adelaide’s Feast Festival. The Southern Pride March and Family Fun Day events were then held annually in November 2018 and 2019, with a break in 2020 due to Covid, but returned in March 2021 to coincide with Mardi Gras celebrations, and then again in 2022. The 2023 event coincides with both Mardi Gras, as well as the international celebration, World Pride 2023. We look forward to commemorating our 10th anniversary in 2025 with an extra-special community celebration! Watch this space!

O NOW: How has the event changed over the years?

PoTS: When we first started this march, we didn’t really have any idea where this would go, whether it would be a flop or if it would if end up an amazing annual event for the Southern LGBTIQA+ communities and their families and people from all over SA.

It has improved each year by listening to our community and making changes to make our event better. We we’ve learnt very quickly what not to do again and what was fabulous, and then keeping the fabulousness involved each year. We’re very passionate about making the entertainment as diverse as we can each year. We’re also very lucky that the Pride of the South committee have very good community support and relationships here in the south and in Adelaide. City of Onkaparinga has been very supportive of us, and we’re very fortunate to have such a good relationship with many organisations in the south.

O NOW: How has receiving a 2023 City of Onkaparinga Community Events Grant helped you?

PoTS: Council’s support through its community grants scheme has been instrumental in supporting Pride of the South to deliver our event, from the second Southern Pride March onwards. We’ve worked closely with staff from many different teams within the council over the years, as well as elected members, to bring together the many strands that make up the event. Planning an event requires a very large investment of time from volunteers within PoTS, and we’ve gained skills and experience over the years, developing strong links with community members, organisations and groups within Onkaparinga, and collaborated and developed partnerships with local businesses, suppliers, artists and performers.

O NOW: Tell us more broadly about Pride of the South?

PoTS: Pride of the South is a completely volunteer-run community organisation founded in 2015 and serving the rainbow community in Southern Adelaide and surrounding areas. Our mission is to enhance the wellbeing of the LGBTIQ community, fight social isolation through monthly, annual and once-off events, and help our community members gain access to appropriate community services if they need them.

O NOW: How can people get involved?

PoTS: We love meeting new people, whether LGBTIQ community members, friends or allies! We’d love to welcome you to any of our events, including our most popular monthly events Coffee POTS (third Sunday of each month at Mick O’Shea’s Irish Hotel) and Connect/Create (first Saturday of each month at Hackham Community Centre). You can also come and meet us this Saturday at our Pride of the South stall located close to the stage at the Southern Pride March.

Onkaparinga Youth runs two free LGBTQIA+ hang-out spaces to increase access and inclusion. Spark (for 12-17 year olds) runs fortnightly at Aldinga's Studio 20 Youth Centre, while Solace (for 15-20 year olds) runs at Reynella's Base 10 Youth Centre.