Check-in desk: LGBTI events worth travelling for

Participants at the annual San Francisco Gay pride parade. Photo / 123RF
Participants at the annual San Francisco Gay pride parade. Photo / 123RF

1. Kings Day, Amsterdam

Previously known as Queens Day, this festival is not officially known as a "pink" event but still holds great significance for the LGBTI community. Kings Day takes place on April 27, the birthday of the popular King Willem-Alexander. Head to the famous gay bars on Reguliersdwarsstraat for open-air street parties that continue inside until late.

2. Carnival, Brazil

Rio's Carnival takes on a particularly queer tone, with several special gay Carnival events hosted throughout the city. Circuit parties move through popular nightspots and over-the-top drag queens take centre stage. This year's event ends tomorrow, but consider planning for next year.

3. Fantasia Fair, Provincetown

Fantasia Fair is the world's longest running annual transgender event, taking place over a week in October in the LGBTI resort mecca of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Founded 40 years ago, the Fair's focus has changed as the transgender community evolves. As well as educational workshops, there's a fashion show and other special events.

4. San Francisco Pride

Described as "one of the last remaining pride events that can truly be called a rite of passage," San Fran's festival is definitely a must-visit. Taking place in June, right in the middle of the hot California summer, it's bound to get you down to your scanty gladrags. Past performers at the celebration have included Lady Gaga, the Backstreet Boys and Solange Knowles.

5. The Village Halloween

This annual parade and street pageant is held every Halloween in New York's historically gay neighbourhood, Greenwich Village. It started as a gay event with only 150 people, but has since become the world's largest Halloween parade, attracting nearly 2 million people. The intricate puppets and masks on display give the parade a real Mardi Gras vibe. In the aftermath, parade goers wearing an array of freaky costumes flood the gay bars in Chelsea and the Village.

- NZ Herald

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