The annual Red Cross Fair will return to its traditional grounds at Saphan Hin from Dec 29 to Jan 9. The fair again has been rebranded, this year to be called the “Good Phuket Products Fair”, but the main aim of the fair is to raise funds for a variety of community projects to be carried out by Phuket Red Cross members throughout next year.
Top prize in the popular lucky draw remains a B2.29 million townhouse in Thalang, with second prize being a Toyota Yaris ATIV 1.2 j valued at about B700,000. Up for grabs as the “third-place” prizes are two Honda Wave 110i motorcycles, followed by “fourth-place” prizes of three gold necklaces valued at about B21,000 each, with 30 gold necklaces valued at about B5,400 each as the “fifth-placed” prizes.
A host of Thai celebrities will perform live on stage throughout the event, yet the main highlight of the festival is hoped to be the new Miss Coral Queen beauty pageant, which is open exclusively to members of the cross-dressing and transgender community, called “katoey” in Thai.
The new Miss Coral Queen beauty pageant was announced at Phuket Provincial Hall last Friday (Dec 13), at a meeting presided over by Phuket Vice Governor Thanyawat Chanpinit.
At the meeting it was announced that the regular Miss Pearl Phuket beauty pageant, open to women 18-27 years old, will be held on the main stage at Saphan Hin Park on Jan 3.
The Miss Coral Queen Phuket beauty pageant, open to people 18-35 years old, will be held on the same stage on Jan 6.
Both pageants are open to contestants from anywhere in the country, explained Komart Pankeard, Chief of the Phuket office of the Ministry of Culture, who sits on the fair’s organising committee.
The winners of the pageants will each receive the same prize money: B30,000 for first place, B20,000 for first runner-up and B10,000 for second runner-up.
“Contestants who win the photogenic award and the popular vote will each receive B5,000,” Mr Komart said.
To enter either pageant, contestants must submit their applications in person at the Phuket office of the Ministry of Culture before 4:30pm Christmas Day (Dec 25). Entry to either pageant costs B500, he added.
Asked why the Red Cross Fair made the move to hist a transgender beauty pageant, Mr Komart told The Phuket News, “People will see how talented transgenders are. In other areas, such as Pattaya, there are a lot of transgender beauty pageants, and Phuket is a developed city where is full of diversity, so we’re ready to hold this kind of pageant.
“This pageant may create more opportunities for talented transgenders to work, and to generate more income, by showing people what they can do,” he said.
Mr Komart explained that hosting the Miss Coral Queen pageant is hoped to open people’s minds and encourage them to be more accepting of diversity.
“Everyone has their own right to live, no matter what skin color we have, what gender we are, or what language we speak. This pageant will at least be a place where transgenders can showcase their talents,” he said.
Mr Komart noted that Thailand was making progress in gender equality, but admitted there is still a long way to go.
“People are more accepting of members of the LGBTQ (-plus) community. Now we’re in modern society. There are some same-sex marriages in Thailand, but even that has not yet been approved by law,” he said.
“We are holding this pageant for them to show what they have. Phuket is full of difference, in terms of races, languages, culture, and genders. I think if we hold a quality event for them, more of them may feel welcome to come to visit Phuket,” Mr Komart said.