The Parade that stops the nation – the 37th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade – is set to descend upon Sydney in just eleven day’s time. On Saturday 7 March 2015, Sydney will be afire with passionate people, all marching, dancing, walking, skating, riding and boogieing their way along Oxford Street to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQI community.
So, you’ve picked your viewing point, got your rainbow flag, glitter face paint and a party horn, all you need to know is who to look out for as you cheer on the parade from the sidelines.
The University of Western Sydney will join the Mardi Gras fun and festivities for the first time with their UWS/Ally Network. Their message is that UWS is a place that is fundamentally for all, by all and with all.
Mardi Gras regulars, the multi-award winning Dr Mark’s Marching Academy, will be back this year with another show-stopping routine. Last year, their memorable parade entry, Putin’ on the Ritz lampooned Russian president Vladimir Putin and his anti-gay propaganda laws. This year they’ve opted for something a little more light-hearted; passionfruits! Don’t miss this talented group and yearly favourite.
The Glamazon All-Stars are going Grecian for this year’s Mardi Gras Parade, with a chariot pulled by muscly equine men, topped by the Mother of Justice, in glimmering silver and white robes, carrying her scales. Fighters for love, untiy, valor and equality, the Glamazon All-Stars are this year’s Justice Family!
From Greece to South Asia, Trikone is parading to proclaim that Bollywood is the new black! One of the oldest groups of its kind in the world, Trikone supports South Asian LGBTQI people. You couldn’t miss this ultra-colourful group if you tried! They’ll be decked out in beautiful rainbow coloured Indian clothes and jewellery, showing off their Bollywood dancing talents.
Sydney Stingers, a gay and lesbian waterpolo club, will be putting on an Amazonian pool party for Mardi Gras! Colourful birds, snakes and flowers will bedeck their float, and the centrepiece – an actual pool! You won’t be able to resist getting a bit splishy splashy with the gorgeous guys and girls from Sydney Stingers.
A parade float to remember in this year’s Mardi Gras without a doubt will be the Beyonce G Spot Memorial float. Dedicated to one of Sydney’s premier drag performers who passed away tragically in 2013, Beyonce G Spot (aka Sascha Fierce), known to his close friends as Zaine, the float will pay tribute to this talented performer and the legacy he has left.
It will recreate one of Zaine’s most memorable performances, The Little Merdrag with an elaborate set of giant clams on a rocky outcrop, draped with Ariel and her six sisters. The poignant message is one of acceptance and being a ‘Part of Your World.’
If you find yourself showered in green glitter and shamrocks, no doubt the Irish Dancing Queen float is passing you by! Led by Ireland’s High Queen and accidental activist, Panti Bliss, who will be blissfully wedded to a sexy Aussie lifesaver atop a fabulous wedding cake, this Irish Australian float will champion marriage equality in both countries. This is particularly relevant with the upcoming Irish referendum on marriage equality in May.
The Parade will have representation from Melbourne, South Australia and the Northern Territory, as well as several floats from regional NSW. Watch out for the tongue-in-cheek Way Out West float, with line-dancers decked out in flannies and blundstones.
“The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade is a highlight of Sydney’s events calendar, attracting tens of thousands of locals and visitors who line the streets to enjoy the night’s festivities,” says Member for Coogee Bruce Notley-Smith.
“The NSW Government is proud to support the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade through our tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. This year’s Parade promises to be one of the most spectacular yet, encouraging people from all walks of life to share their ‘Passion’ in celebration of inclusion and diversity.”
For the best Parade experience, you can’t go past the official Parade Viewing areas. The Diamond Club at Taylor Square is exclusive to Members of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Parade Sideshow – just a couple of blocks away on Flinders Street, and this year hosted by the fabulous Gretel Killeen and Rhys Nicholson, is a family-friendly area right on the Parade route with seating, food stalls, bars, toilets and live event screens capturing all the action.
The 37th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade takes place on Saturday 7 March 2015commencing at 7.45pm. For more information, visit: www.mardigras.org.au for details.
Image: All the fun of the 2014 Mardi Gras Parade – photo by Hamid Mousa