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Following on from the fabulousness of Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival and Sydney Mardi Gras, this weekend the queer community heads bush for Australia’s biggest and longest running regional pride event, Daylesford’s ChillOut.

From 9th-12th March 2012, the 15th annual ChillOut takes over Hepburn Shire with its 2012 theme Queer Country Pride bursting out in four days of queer events and activities.

Popular major events on Friday 9 March, the Slowest Lunch and the ChillOut Opening Night party begin the weekend of festivities which will include Bush Dance (Saturday 10 March), Street Parade, Carnival Day and Dance Party (Sunday 11 March).

Carnival Day will be huge day for everyone in your queer family. Kids can enjoy rides and your furry animal friends can show off in the infamous dog show. Special guest the amazing Paul Capsis headlines a stellar day of talent on the main stage, including Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel, drag extraordinaire Dallas Dellaforce, GH stage spectacular Boylesque, the fantastic Party Girls and delicious bear band Kodiak.

The ChillOut Street Parade has become so big that it now has its own theme. Pirates Reclaiming the Pearl is the 2012 theme and will no doubt bring a whole new spin on pirates and seamen…

A Burlesque themed Dance Party then closes the ChillOut weekend in sexy and sophisticated style with two of Melbourne’s biggest and best DJ names; Miss Elenie and Peter MacNamara.

Of course it’s not just about the major events that are going to be of interest, with over 35 individual events in the 2012 program. Check out Twisted Rodeo with Vaness Wagner, Gay tour of Daylesford with Anne E Stewart and Dolly Diamond’s More Than A Woman show on Saturday 10 March. Also on our hot list are the LOL Big Gay Comedy night (Sat 10 and 11), and the incomparable Jade Leonard in her solo show (Sun 11).

Getting around to check out all the wonderful events in this year’s festival has never been easier, with ChillOut organisers providing a free shuttle bus every half an hour to take festival goers to major venues. For full details on the Shuttle bus services and a map of the route, click here.

Each year ChillOut raises funds and awareness for an important cause. This year, organisers have chosen the Heburn Shire State Emergency Services (SES) unit. Just one of a statewide network of emergency units, the local SES unit consists of 45 members, and are integral to the safety of the area, answering to on average 60 emergency calls.

The 15th annual ChillOut festival is on from 9 -12 March 2012. Full program details and tickets are available right here.

Check out Same Same’s photos of last year’s ChillOut Festival below.

> Main photo by Robyn Wilding.

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