Resort paints the town rainbow for welcome

Winter Pride director Martin King and Emma Hansen, head of marketing at Go Orange, with the Go...
Winter Pride director Martin King and Emma Hansen, head of marketing at Go Orange, with the Go Orange Pride bus at Coronet Peak. PHOTO-JOSHUA WALTON
Queenstown businesses have rolled out the rainbow decorations ready to give a vibrant welcome to Winter Pride festival-goers next week.

Tour operator Go Orange unveiled its rainbow buses, complete with Winter Pride branding, ahead of the festival.

Organisers expect the event, which was formerly known as Gay Ski Week, to attract more than 2000 participants for a week-long celebration of the LGBTI community's diversity, running from next Saturday to September 9.

Festival director Martin King said this year's festival would be "bigger than ever before".

"It's just going to be absolutely awesome.

"We have six festival days on the mountain.

"Then a whole range of off-mountain activities.

"The tourism industry here in Queenstown is turning it on."

There are two Go Orange Pride buses at present, and another might be decorated for the festival.

Winter Pride flags have been hung on lampposts along Shotover St to mark the build-up to the festival.

Mr King said other businesses involved in rolling out the rainbow ahead of the festival included NZONE, Southern Discoveries, SkyCity Casino - with its rainbow stairs, Queenstown Gym, i-SITE and the Remarkables and Coronet Peak ticket office at The Station bus stop in town.

Mr Gay World, Australian Jordan Bruno, will be in Queenstown for Winter Pride as a representative of the festival, which offers visitors a mixture of non-snow sport fun-filled activities, including wine tours, day trips, adventure sports and several themed parties.

Mr King said: "We've got a team of about 80 volunteers - they are all getting pretty excited.

"Certainly nothing like this has ever hit Queenstown before and I feel really proud and privileged to be leading the festival, for sure."

Organisers received funding for the event from Queenstown Lakes District Council and Mr King said the number of sponsors had increased significantly since he and his partner Mike Hughes took over the event.

The annual festival, which is now in its seventh year, was renamed Winter Pride in May.

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