Sydney Mardi Gras 2015

Scenes from the 37th annual Sydney Mardi Gras Parade which attracted 400,000 people to the city in March.

Before the Parade starts ... time for lots of selfies and photos with those looking great on the day.

The big Parade began with a roar from the powerful machines of the Dykes on Bikes. From my poor vantage point this was the best action shot I could manage.

And here's why! When you're stuck well back from the front line of observers, backs and backs of heads are about all you'll photograph!

But next time I'll bring my own stool or milk crate or two ... and that will make all the difference.

The banners Mardi Gras organisers displayed around the city - with much pride.



What Mardi Gras brings to Sydney ...

All the colours of the rainbow! ... A wonderful costume creation paraded with pride at the Sydney Mardi Gras.

The Sydney Mardi Gras is an amazing three-week long expression of gay pride and creativity.

The festival climaxes in a Grand Parade with 10,000 participants who exhibit flamboyant dress and plenty of flesh to the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Yellow hot pants and red braces - what a combo in 2013 for the Big Parade.

The Parade (which often has a confronting political edge) runs through Sydney CBD and Darlinghurst. Participants travel 1.7km along Oxford and Flinders Streets - through the heart of gay Sydney.

From the moment 200 Dykes on Bikes kick start their engines to open the event, a roar of excitement explodes into an extravaganza of lavish rainbow floats and energetic marching and dancing troops.

Giant effigy of Vladimir Putin rides menacingly above the 2014 Mardi Gras Parade - drawing world attention to Russia's homophobic laws.

Spectacular costumes and show-stopping surprises delight the many visitors from around Australia and the world. For indeed the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade is probably the best loved of LGBTQI celebrations anywhere.

A Mardi Gras plea in 2013 to take the heat off WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange.


Sydney Mardi Gras Parade is free

. . . And it's the major Mardi Gras event - well worth taking in if as a tourist you've arrived in the city in early March. You'll be captivated by a whirlwind of feather boas, sparkling sequins, glitz and glitter.

The Parade is always a mix of satire and outrageous parody, pride and politics. Combined, they make this event unique and a great high-energy spectacle.

All smiles and happiness as marchers strut their stuff in 2013.

In 2015, the 37th running of the Sydney Mardi Gras saw celebrations last from February 20 until March 8. There were more than 100 special events - everything from theatre performances, parades, parties and fairs to harbour regattas.

Each year the Grand Parade lasts about two hours and is followed at 10pm by a massive Mardi Gras Party in Moore Park.

Thongs and feathers ... it's time to dress-up!

As many as 14,000 revellers make it a night to remember - partying on through the wee hours till 8am next day when festivities end for the year.

If you're keen to take part in the 2017 festivities you need to look up the official Sydney Mardi Gras website. It gives full information on the scores of Mardi Gras activities being held.

Lifesavers With Pride join Mardi Gras celebrations.

The Sydney Mardi Gras aims to increase the visibility of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities and their culture.

What began in 1978 as a gay rights protest march in commemoration of New York's Stonewall Riots has become a landmark gay pride event.


Drag races and art shows

The Mardi Gras program includes dozens of popular events, including a Festival of Films, art shows, and performances by international entertainers.

Events are staged at some of Sydney's great icons and inner-city precincts - including Taronga Zoo with its views over Sydney Harbour, the famous Bondi Beach, Manly Beach and Luna Park.

Such effort to look good in the big Parade.

The Mardi Gras is now a huge tourist drawcard for Sydney and Australia. It generates $30 million annually for New South Wales alone and has received significant NSW Government funding.


Disco Climbing the Bridge

In 2014, the Sydney Mardi Gras organised a Disco Climb to allow disco dancing atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

In an arrangement with BridgeClimb Sydney who take tourist parties to the bridge summit, Mardi Gras participants were able to dance to Kylie Minogue underneath a mirror ball on top of the harbour bridge - and have their dancing recorded on video.

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2016

Hope you enjoyed the 38th Sydney Mardi Gras which had  heaps of LGBTQI events and ran for three weeks in February-March.

If you came just for the Big Parade on Saturday night (March 5) then sure hope you made a day of it with friends and enjoyed the geared up city atmosphere.

It's a grand spectacle every year and 2016 was no exception. There were 175 floats and 12,000 participants dancing and marching their way down the parade route.

The Parade lasts more than three hours starting 7pm. This time both Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten were there among perhaps 400,000 onlookers.

Want to take part in the 2017 Sydney Mardi Gras? - then keep an eye on the official Mardi Gras website. It has all the info you need, including What's On, Where and When. 







 Mardi Gras Parade

2015

The 37th annual Parade took place on Saturday night (March 7) to the delight of 10,000 participants and an estimated 400,000 onlookers - including me! The Big Parade happens right in inner Sydney and lots of roads are closed for the event. I took the train from Seven Hills (Western Sydney) to Central Station and had a good experience - nice comfortable ride of 45-50 minutes both ways.

Arriving at Central soon after 6pm, I lugged my backpack and camera up to Oxford St - some steep hills to climb but not too bad a walk. The Parade always travels from Hyde Park to Moore Park going all the way down Oxford and Flinders Streets, in Darlinghurst.

Can I get a good view? Well, I didn't - but that was my fault. Best viewing spots get claimed by about 1pm, so I was always going to be in trouble arriving near 7pm! I really should have taken some steps with me, or a stool - or even a milk crate. I'm tall, but getting a good view when the crowds are 10 people deep is impossible. Learn from my mistakes folks and you'll see a lot more of the Parade than I did! 

Viewing Tips: The milk crate is the cheap traditional way to see over the crowd. But I'd recommend two crates to give a good height. (See the photos on this page of people using crates and stools). I saw many Asian tourists struggling to get a good view ... so plan for your group to bring along at least a couple of these next year. It will heighten your experience (sorry, couldn't resist the pun).

Want great viewing with no hassles - and prepared to pay for it?  Buy a ticket to one of the VIP viewing spots - for instance Flinders Seats. Or try the raised platforms of the outdoor club in Taylor Square. It will set you back a bit money-wise, but the legs and back won't ache. Enjoy ...





2016 Mardi Gras brings apology

It took decades but the 38th celebration of Mardi Gras in Sydney will be remembered for the important apologies made to those who participated in Sydney's first Mardi Gras - in 1978.

The event was held to support New York's Stonewall Movement and to call for an end to discrimination against homosexuals.

The peaceful event ended in violence, mass arrests and public shaming at the hands of police, the government and media.

During the running of the 2016 Sydney Mardi Gras both houses of the NSW Parliament apologised for discrimination suffered at the 1978 event.

The Sydney Morning Herald did likewise. It had outed participants ... publishing their names, addresses and professions. 

On the day before the 2016 Mardi Gras Parade NSW Police also apologised for the "pain and hurt" of their actions in 1978 when 53 people were arrested and beaten.