Pride marches have become more accepted and more popular in cities across the globe, and extravagant festival floats, costumes and themes are not unusual. However, Sydney embraces its gay community with more than just pride – for the day of the Mardi Grad parade and after party, it seems the whole city is decorated and celebrating! It’s a once in a lifetime experience so you won’t want to miss out on any of the best bits – here are some tips to having the best Mardi Gras possible!
1) Unlike most Pride events, Mardi Gras is made up of a huge number of events running through February and culminating with the Parade and post-parade party in March. This is the tail end of the Australian summer, so make the most of all the opportunities by making a real holiday of it, enjoying the sunshine while participating in pool parties, drag races, musical theatre showings and more!
2) Get a good balance of fun and serious activities – for every beach party with short shorts and volleyball, there’s also a discussion session about key political topics. From gay marriage to equality in the workplace, there’s a topic which will resonate for everyone; and with some of the key personalities of Australia and the world in attendance, you never know who you may end up sitting next to!
3) Don’t miss out on the other wonderful sides of Sydney while you’re enjoying Mardi Gras – take the opportunity to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for wonderful views, see what’s on at the Sydney Opera House and see some stunning exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
4) The big focus of the festival has got to be the parade – taking place in the evening, floats are lit up brightly, costumes are fabulous and the whole thing is wonderfully choreographed. You can choose to get involved by walking the parade route or you may choose to watch the parade from a safe point of the course – but don’t miss the fireworks and amazing decorations at the beginning and end of the route! Next year’s theme is yet to be announced, but with recent topics including ‘We are family’ and ‘Say something’ it’s likely to be a topic which will be hugely relevant to the gay community.
5) Of course, after the parade there’s the world –famous after party. A brilliant way to celebrate the experience and socialise with all the new friends you’ll have made, each year the party attracts around 15,000 people who just want to dance and let off steam – and you’d be mad not to want to join them!
So if you’re planning on visiting Sydney for the annual Gay Mardi Gras, get ready for the craziest, thought provoking and memorable trip you can imagine. And the final tip? Don’t forget your camera!