Mardi Gras has big things planned for Sydney in 2019. The annual celebration of Australia’s LGBTQI community kicks off on 15 February and runs until 3 March, with more than 100 events set to take place across the two weeks.

All events on this year’s schedule are unified under the theme of "Fearless", an acknowledgement of the way LGBTQI people around the globe express their identity.

The parade

Sydney Mardi Gras parade 2018

As ever, the biggest event on the calendar is the parade, which will snake through Oxford and Flinders Streets on the evening of 2 March.

This year’s parade will feature more than 190 floats and 12,500 participants, kicking off with the roar of the Dykes on Bikes procession. The parade gets underway from 7pm at Hyde Park and ends at 11pm at Anzac Parade, Moore Park.

Though tickets to Mardi Gras’ parade viewing stands at Taylor Square and Flinders Street have now sold out, anyone can watch the Mardi Gras parade – you don’t need a ticket. 

As for where to watch from for free? You can grab a spot anywhere along the 1.7 kilometre route. Taylor’s Square is generally the most popular viewing spot, though you might have better luck finding room along Flinders Street. Many bars and clubs along Oxford Street offer their own drink packages with access to balconies; check individual venue websites for details.

The performances

The two-week schedule also boasts dance performances, theatre, music and family-focused events at venues around the city.

Highlights include The Rise and Fall of St George, a music work dedicated to the life of singer George Michael, the world premiere of dance performance KING and the return of Sissy Ball, a collaboration with Bhenji Ra and Red Bull Music inspired by New York’s vogue ballroom scene.

Trevor Ashley’s variety gala Mardi Gala will bring performers including Rhonda Burchmore, Tim Campbell, Tom Ballard to the Opera House on Sunday 24 February. Fair Day, Mardi Gras’ annual free party in Victoria Park, returns on 17 February with performances from the likes of Mojo Juju and Electric Fields.

Carriageworks will also host the two-day conference event Queer Thinking on 23 and 24 February, where panels will discuss topics around LGBTQI identity and politics.

The art

Sydney Mardi Gras rainbow crossing

Image credit: Don Arnold/WireImage

Oxford Street's beloved rainbow crossing returns for 2019 during Mardi Gras, repainted on the corner of Bourke and Campbell Streets. The improved crossing is at pavement level, making it safer for those cycling, pushing prams or handling wheelchairs and will remain in place for at least six months. 

ANZ's rainbow "Gaytms" have also returned for 2019, giving ATMs on Oxford Street a colourful makeover.

At the National Art School in Darlinghurst, Queer Art After Hours will host an exhibition celebrating queer tattoos on Wednesday, 27 February. Queer Art After Hours will also feature pop-up bars, tongue-in-cheek art tours, hands on workshops, live music and queer art history stories.

Tickets to other Mardi Gras events can be purchased through the website.

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SEE ALSO: All the Best Places to Eat and Drink in Darlinghurst

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