Fair Day to kick off Mardi Gras’ 40th Celebrations

MG Fair Day - photo by Jeffrey FengOne of Sydney’s much-loved annual community events for LGBTQI people and their friends and families, Mardi Gras Fair Day returns to its home at Victoria Park, Camperdown on Sunday 18 February for a full day of entertainment and picnicking in the sun.

“Mardi Gras Fair Day is a beloved free fun day for LGBTQI people of all walks of life and their friends, families and fur babies,” said Mardi Gras CEO Terese Casu. “During our Mardi Gras 40th anniversary festival we’re thrilled to be back in Victoria Park where we predict Fair Day 2018 will attract record crowds. There’s more community stalls than ever before and a stellar day of entertainment on the main stage.”

Every year, a melting pot of 70,000 smiling faces gather together in the park to celebrate not only the beginning of Mardi Gras, but also the power and beauty of diversity. With over 250 stalls, Fair Day will spread out through the entire Park and features the Sports Village, Doggywood, the ANZ Main stage and the new Tropicana Bar and food and bars throughout the entire site.

Stalls that highlight the amazing diversity of the LGBTQI community include the 78ers, Queer Screen, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir, Dykes on Bikes, Gender Centre, Rainbow Families, Wett Ones Swimming Club, Sydney Roller Derby, Glitoris, Harbour City Bears, the Sydney Femme Guild and the Australian Gay and Lesbian Archives.

Mardi Gras in partnership with ACON will present an all-new Doggywood featuring racked seating so everyone has a view. It will be hosted by Australian drag legend Vanessa Wagner and her side pup Gavin. Check out the Game of Bones Dog Pageant as Sydney’s finest dogs battle it out for the coveted titles of Best Dressed, Most Talented and Best In Show. There are two sessions (12pm and 2pm), and plenty of great prizes for both dogs and owners.

Visitors will go barking mad for Dai Aoki’s K9 Spectacular Dog Show featuring Dai and the amazing antics of his superstar border collies Holly and Ace. So make sure you get a front row seat to witness some spectacular canine acts at 11:00am, 12.30pm and 2:30pm. Throughout the day there’ll also be various live chats with dog experts and dog lovers about caring for your pooch. Think health, grooming, nutrition, health, safety and doggy behaviour (11.30am and 1pm).

The ANZ Main Stage morning program will feature community performances from the NSW Police Band and the Swing Out Sydney dancers and the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir to start the day off. The official ceremonies start at midday hosted by 78er and broadcaster Julie McCrossin.

Mardi Gras legends Bob Downe and Cindy Pastel then take over proceedings as they host the start of an amazing early afternoon program of cabaret including performances by Shauna Jensen, Mama Alto, Greg Gould, Bogan Villea and Miss First Nations winner Josie Baker.

“A highlight of the afternoon will be the Doggywood Best in Show as the winners of Doggywood take to the main stage as Vanessa Wagner hands out the gongs to her furry friends,” said Mardi Gras Creative Director Greg Clarke.

Jordan Raskopoulos then takes over the MC duties for a late afternoon, all women line-up of live music from Kira Puru and Asta. Two of Sydney’s iconic DJs Sveta and Kate Monroe will then get everyone up and dancing from the Main Stage from 5:30pm until close at 8.00pm.

“Also not to be missed is the Courtyard Sessions from 5pm -7pm at the Seymour  Centre courtyard featuring a bar, vintage games and live music by non-binary singer songwriter Rachel Maria Cox and Sydney three-piece Hollow States,” added Clarke.

The 2018 Mardi Gras Fair Day takes place at Victoria Park, Camperdown on Sunday 18 February. For more information, visit: www.mardigras.org.au for details.

Image: Mardi Gras Fair Day – photo by Jeffrey Feng