The story of the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival is a story that begins with Knysna. Hidden away 1200 km south of Johannesburg and east of Port Elizabeth, lays the charming town of Knysna (a local Khoikhoi word that quite possibly may mean ‘ferns’). One of the best kept secrets of South Africa, the town of Knysna is located in the Garden Route and is surrounded by lush native South African rainforests, spilling out into a crystalline estuary fed by the Knysna River. For the past eighteen years at the end of April and the first week of May, Knysna has also become home to one of the freshest and most exciting LGBTI celebrations around the world – the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival. Initially started by local businessmen to entice tourists to the town during the slow month of May and reinvigorate the local economy, and run until 2009 by Juan Lerm, the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras was also an event that that would not only incorporate the region’s gay identity but celebrate the cultural contribution the gay community made to the region and overcome a history of suppression. And with an ever increasingly visible gay population, Knysna’s Pink Loerie has quietly become one of the most written about and must-see annual celebrations within the global gay community.