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Sydney Mardi Gras

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Sydney Mardi Gras is one helluva party and famous the world over. Unlike other Mardi Gras celebrations and parades around the world (Rio Carnival being the biggest), the Sydney Mardi Gras is a huge LGBT pride parade. All Mardi Gras festivals are a little bit camp but nothing comes close to the one in Sydney.

The beautiful thing about Sydney is its eclectic mix of people and the way (in most cases) everyone celebrates and supports each other. Around the first week of March every year, the people of Sydney get together in an effort to create an exquisite event. A festival of love, tolerance and acceptance combined with the tastiest slice of Sydneys notorious Oxford Street nightlife.

The most famous part of the Sydney Mardi Gras celebrations is the parade which can only be described as fabulous!

sydney mardi gras
By Hasitha Tudugalle [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Sydney Mardi Gras 2019

The festival is a fortnight (well, slightly longer) full of celebrations. Starting on Friday 17th February and ending on Sunday 5th March you can enjoy parties, exhibitions, films, music, theatre, quiz nights, sports… you name it, it’s happening during the Mardi Gras festival!

2018 was the 40th anniversary year of the Mardi Gras in Sydney, so it’s now bigger and more fabulous than ever before!

Some Highlights

Fair Day – Sunday, Victoria Park. FREE (gold coin donations are welcome)
Fair Day is a ‘smorgasbord of fun for all ages and tastes’. There’ll be stalls, entertainment, music, food and around 80,000 people celebrating family, in whatever form that may be.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade – Saturday, Oxford Street & Flinders Street. FREE.
This is the parade to end all parades. Find your spot to watch 10,000 fabulous people walk through the streets of Sydney.

The Party! – Saturday, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park. Ticketed Event.
10 hours of entertainment and excitement to mark the end of the festival. Join 12000 revellers from around the globe, all kitted out in their best shiny gear, listening to Sydney and International DJ’s. Not to be missed!


Who would have thought that Sydney’s famous annual Mardi Gras festival that’s filled with glitz, glam and everything fabulous all started from street riots? The huge success of this festival is all due to what it stood for in the first place. One day in 1978 at around 10pm at night, a group of protesters supporting gay rights in Sydney in light of the Stonewall Riots were arrested all because they showed their support for the gay, lesbian and transgender communities.

stonewall riots
Site of the Stonewall Riots in Manhattan By RhododendritesOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

The event grew from gay rights marches held annually since 1978, when numerous participants had been contentiously arrested by New South Wales State Police. The Mardi Gras Parade maintains a political flavour, with many marching groups and floats promoting LGBTQI rights issues or themes. Reflecting changes since the first Sydney Mardi Gras, participants in the Mardi Gras Parade now include groups of uniformed Australian Defence Force personnel, police officers from New South Wales State Police, as well as interstate and federal police officers, firefighters and other emergency services personnel from the Australian LGBTQI communities. Marriage equality was a dominant theme in the 2011 Sydney Mardi Gras Parade with at least 15 floats lobbying for same-sex marriage.

Same Sex Marriage is still not legal in Australia, so it’s probable that there will be some floats lobbying for same sex marriage again this year and more than likely some petitions around rallying for support for the LGBTQI community in Australia.

Find out more about the Sydney Mardi Gras, buy your tickets and check out the full list of events and parties at the official Sydney Mardi Gras website: http://www.mardigras.org.au/

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