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The Labour Day Long Weekend in queer-friendly Daylesford hosts the cheeky and colorful ChillOut Festival, and here are five musn't-miss attractions

ChillOut, Australia’s largest and longest running country queer festival, is back with the streets of Daylesford set to come alive this Labour Day long weekend. There’s the bush dance, Cream - a day focused on female musicians, horse racing, a women’s AFL tournament, roller derby, a comedy and cabaret night, a wide variety of art exhibitors and more. Don’t forget to pop into the food and wine market to check out all the best local produce the region has to offer.

Following the Sunday street parade, the ever popular carnival day kicks off at 11:30am. A highlight of the day is country musician Cash Savage and her seven-piece band The Last Drinks, who are playing from 3pm on the main stage.

The Etheridge Show

Old Hepburn Hotel, 8 Mar

You can’t have a queer country festival and not include some good old country and western music, so Michelle Parsons and her band pay tribute to the legendary lesbian country singer Michelle Etheridge and belt out the hits all the girls love. The show starts at 9pm, but why not arrive early and make it dinner and a show?

Twisted Rodeo Pub Trivia

Old Hepburn Hotel, 9 Mar

If you like your trivia a bit cheeky and bent, with some rodeo games thrown in for good measure, then don’t miss this naughty and fun trivia day. Vanessa Wagner is hosting, so anything can happen – and probably will! Food and refreshments will also be available. You’ll need them.

The Laugh Out Loud Big Gay Comedy and Cabaret Night

The Convent Gallery, 9-10 Mar

Nothing is sacred and everything is open slather at this comedy and cabaret night, and it’s been like this for five years! Geraldine Hickey, Joel Creasey and the Madame of magic and illusion, Cath Jamison, feature over two nights. Comedy’s not just for the city folk, you know…

ChillOut Street Parade

Vincent St, Daylesford, 11 Mar

And it all leads to this. Before the much-loved Carnival on Sunday afternoon is ChillOut’s own private Mardi Gras Parade. This year’s theme is Back to the Future, so it sounds like it’s going to be very retro. And no, that’s not the country just catching up. It’s free to watch, but you’re more than welcome to join in as well.

ChillOut Carnival Day

Victoria Park, Daylesford, 11 Mar

This is the event that really started ChillOut 15 years ago – a relaxed and great fun day in Victoria Park. There’s food and wine for sale, stalls, entertainment, games, DJs and a whole lot more. Bring a picnic, and enter your four-legged friend in the obligatory dog show. This is ChillOut, after all.

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By Tim Hunter   |   Photos by Michelle Dunn

ChillOut Festival 2013 details

Burrall St, Daylesford 3460

Telephone 03 5348 4516

Price $15.00 to $25.00

Date 08 Mar 2013-11 Mar 2013

Victoria Park map

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