Unforgettable Experiences at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras holds huge cultural significance for the people of New South Wales. Since 1978, the festival has evolved into a celebration of inclusion, pride and diversity.
If you're looking for a traditional Mardi Gras experience, the hallmarks are still readily available. This extravaganza culminates in the world-famous parade and the 'party to end all parties' that follows. However Mardi Gras in Sydney is about far more than the glitter, sequins and outfits. In 2015, more than 23,000 interstate and international visitors travelled to Sydney for the annual Mardi Gras Parade and to take part in some of the festival's series of events that range from Fair Day to theatre, from drama to drag shows.
Find out more about the Sydney Mardi Gras:
No Mardi Gras would be complete without The Parade, which is held on the first Saturday in March. Every year, Oxford Street bursts at the seams as hundreds of thousands of jubilant spectators cheer on the dazzling procession of 10,000 participants as they snake their way through Darlinghurst. Parents, families and friends all enter, along with organisations such as Amnesty International Australia, the Australian Defence Force and Qantas, with our own 'Gay 380' float during this celebration.
Sport and Adventure
Fish out your pretty black number and raise money for a good cause in the 'Little Black Dress Run', a sponsored annual charity run. If you're not up for running, you can still go and watch while showing your support.
For those into a spot of tennis, 'Game, Set, Love' is a social tennis-doubles afternoon for people of all levels. There's a dress up competition where you come as your favourite tennis players with snacks and entertainment provided. Prepare yourself for the parade or come and learn a new skill with some free 'Same Sex Salsa lessons' at the Colombian Hotel.
Performance and Arts
Why not plan a visit to Sydney's thriving cultural sector during February? With a host of plays, galleries and thought-provoking shows, some of New South Wales' top artists and performers combat stereotypes, revel in the unique and sometimes just make you laugh.
From watching the satirical 'Space Cats - An intergalactic feline musical' or discovering the real history of Sydney from the man who has seen it all in the authentic and intimate 'Piccolo Tales', you're sure to find something that will stay with you long after your trip.
The party atmosphere of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is not confined to the clubs and bars. Put your headphones in and dance through the city with a guided party, along a secret route through The Rocks and Surry Hills, run by discoD tours. Those looking to get their hearts pumping, the Disco Climb from BridgeClimb is a tour up the Sydney Harbour Bridge with your favourite tunes, a dance floor at the top and unforgettable views from one of the city's icons.
There is of course the more traditional Mardi Gras revelry throughout, ending with the Mardi Gras Party. As you would expect from the eponymous event, Sydney pulls out all the stops, and with world class DJs from around the globe across multiple venues, you'll find it hard to tear yourself away.
Fair day is one of the highlights of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, showcasing all the events, people and businesses that make the festival, but also the progress that has been made since the start of the event. Originally the 'Alternative Lifestyle Fair' was part of the 'Gay Solidarity Day', however since 1989 it has become an official Mardi Gras event and kicks off the season in Victoria Park.
Described by the organisers as 'family day in every sense of the word', it brings together all the diverse families that make up Sydney's community. Over 80,000 people flock to Victoria Park in Camperdown to enjoy the wide array of performers, children's entertainment, the Team Sydney sports village and even an international Food Fair.
Darling! Family Fun
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has partnered with Darling Harbour's 'Month of Love' to bring Family Fun Day. Starting with the Rainbow Picnic, with live entertainment and activities for the kids, Darling Quarter on Cockle Bay is filled with free activities, face-painting and interactive stage shows. The arts and crafts stalls are a great way for children to celebrate creativity and individuality and immerse themselves in the spirit of the event. The shows are all family friendly whilst still retaining that inimitable Mardi Gras style.
This free event is held on the last Saturday of February. You can find out more information about this year's festivities on the Mardi Gras website.
There's such a variety of events happening at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras that everyone can create unforgettable memories and meet new people. If you're interested in participating or finding out more about the festival, the Sydney Mardi Gras website has a list of all the events and where to purchase tickets. Buy your tickets in advance - the big events sell out quickly - or follow the relevant social media pages for developments leading up to Mardi Gras.