A loving and accepting Riverina town embraced its LGBTQI community for the fifth annual Rainbow on the Plains Festival and Hay Mardi Gras yet again this year.
Rainbow on the Plains Festival - Hay Mardi Gras Inc board chair Will Miller said the heartfelt response of the Hay community touched organisers.
"We are beyond proud of the residents, everyone opened their hearts and minds up and everyone left the event with a full heart," Mr Miller said.
The Mardi Gras celebrations kick off in Hay on Friday night with 354 people attending the Rainbow on the Greens at Hay Services Club for the official launch of the three days of celebrations.
A Mardi Gras parade was then held on Saturday which saw the streets packed with supporters.
"The parade was absolutely packed," Mr Miller said.
"We probably had 1,500 to more than 2000 people there easily, and we had 39 floats.
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Sydney's Dykes on Bikes also made an appearance for the parade and have already re-booked again for next year's Hay Mardi Gras.
Mr Miller said they then welcomed 800 people to the BayWa r.e's Fair Day at Hay Park after the parade.
Supporting just how much residents of Hay love their LGBTQI community, it is the most recent place to have secured a national record for the biggest human rainbow.
Mr Miller said the rainbow was formed at the fair day, with 446 people, beating the previous record of 405 held by Daylesford's Chill Out Festival.
"It was very successful," He said.
The celebrations continued into Sunday, with the Hay Lions Club hosting their inaugural women's AFL Pride Cup in the afternoon.
Mr Miller said one of the things he was most pleased to see throughout the celebrations was the number of residents eager to learn more about our LGBTQI community.
"We want to attract people who want to learn about the LGBTQI community," he said.
That was also achieved through Mr Gay Pride, a sub-element of Mr World Pride which contest which organises social awareness campaigns and other initiatives to promote LGBTQI rights and provide education.
The six finalists travelled to Hay and undertook the final challenges and tasks involved in the competition. They visited Hay's senior Citizens at Haydays and kids at Hay Pre-School.
Hay Councillor Jenny Dwyer and RoTP Board member Kerri Mijok were part of the nine judges who formed the panel.
Although all contestants had been incredible, it was Dion Alexander who took home the title of Mr Gay Pride for 2022.
Rainbow on the Plains Festival - Hay Mardi Gras Inc board member Krista Schade said she could not be prouder of what the festival has achieved and what it means to people.
"I can step back with a full heart and know the new Board will be the best custodians of this concept I could wish for," she said.
Rainbow on the Plains Festival - Hay Mardi Gras Inc board member Kerri Mijok said to see Hay embrace the festival concept is an overwhelming feeling.
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