Residents at Queensland’s first accredited gay and lesbian-friendly aged care facility showed you can never be too old to have fun, by celebrating a colourful, camp and loud Mardi Gras event.
For the event, residents at Arcare Parkwood's enjoyed live entertainment and tasty sweet treats while the facility's café and foyer were decorated with rainbow flags.
Arcare Parkwood Lifestyle Coordinator Gary Barrett, who moonlights as drag queen performer Tia Maria, performed songs from Shirley Bassey to Cher.
Gary started as a lip-sync performer in 1997 and entered a Victorian competition where he finished top ten in the state.
After his performance, two male drag queens invited him to join their show and his drag queen journey began.
WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE MARDI GRAS EVENT IN ACTION
Now, Gary performs as Tia Maria at The Chameleon Lounge on the Gold Coast.
“The best thing about doing drag is meeting wonderful people, no matter who and where they are,” Gary said.
“I decided to perform at Arcare Parkwood’s Mardi Gras because the residents enjoy seeing the performances and I want to put a huge smile on their faces. It’s also about celebrating diversity and being inclusive of different views.”
On top of the drag queen performance, residents and team members dressed up in feather boas, diamantes and wigs.
“It was fabulous this year…and it was really good. We had fun and we’re doing it again next year, so come and see us then,” resident Pauline said.
The event was timed with Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, the finale of which was held on Saturday night.
Arcare Parkwood is based on the Gold Coast and opened its doors in late 2019. It received its Rainbow Tick Accreditation in late 2021.
The facility offers 91 five-star suites and features include a wellbeing centre, theatre, hair salon, private dining room, activity and lounge rooms and a Dedicated Assignment model of care.