The Melbourne shopping precinct of Chapel Street holds a lively Christmas parade every year.
However, this year will be a little different. Santa Claus is being replaced with drag queens, aiming to promote inclusivity and diversity.
"Chapel Street is the most iconic and high profile shopping strip in Australia, so hopefully we start a world trend!" Chrissie Maus, Chapel Street Shopping Precinct Marketing and Events Director, tells SBS. "This is just another way of showcasing our streets uniqueness, and of course spreading so much Christmas joy!"
The Christmas drag queens first graced Chapel Street last Saturday. They will continue to parade the street every weekend from 1pm to 5pm until Christmas Eve.
Hoping to bring a little festivity to the precinct, they’ll be lip syncing to iconic anthems by Kylie Minogue and Mariah Carey, as they lap the street in a BMW convertible.
"Chapel Street does not do boring. It's bold and full of colour," says Chrissie Maus in a press release, the Chapel Street Shopping Precinct Association director. “No one is more experienced at getting a party started than a drag queen..."
Maus says she’s already seen the positive effect the new parade has had on both retailers and shoppers in the district.
"People were standing on the side of Chapel with their phones in their hands, taking photos, people were taking videos, tagging their friends to come down,” she says.
Of course, it’s also about attracting more business to Chapel Street, Maus says.
"This is about celebrating the uniqueness that Chapel Street is ... it isn't like a mega-mall; it isn't a shopping centre," she says. "We had to do something different, cheeky and fun."