Travel bucket list idea:
Sydney Mardi Gras Parade
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|www.mardigras.org.au|
With its beehive hairdos, leather cowboy chaps, glitter balls, Dykes On Bikes, dancing queens, and outrageous costumes, the Mardi Gras Parade is a unique global phenomenon, attracting partygoers, performers and spectators from every corner of the planet.
Now in its 44th year, the ‘Mardi Gras’ is actually a whole program of Gay and Lesbian themed events spread over two weeks, including film, comedy, art and plenty of parties. But it’s the world-famous Saturday evening parade that people come for, and which is the undisputed star of the show.
In all, over 65,000 glammed-up marchers and 160 outrageous floats wend their way along Oxford Street, Taylor Square and Flinders Street, in front of tens of thousands of cheering spectators lining the streets. The atmosphere is festive, and at times, electric. Plenty of (straight and gay) locals mix in with tourists and it’s very inclusive – crowds typically include families and plenty of children (who love it).
The parade finishes up at Fox Studios, where an enormous party is then staged, continuing until dawn, for gays, straights and everyone in between.
Editor note: at the time of writing, the parade was being held at the Sydney Cricket Ground due to Covid restrictions.
Getting there & doing it
The parade starts in the city at Hyde Park, then winds its way up Oxford Street, through Taylor Square, and along Flinders Street. The first floats leave at 6pm.
Crowds 4-5 people deep line the streets, so if you can’t see over or if you have kids in tow, you need to get there early. Groups will start claiming their space from morning onwards. Once it arrives, the complete parade takes about 2-3 hours to pass you by. No tickets are needed to watch it from the street – just turn up. There are usually grandstands on Flinders Street where you can buy a seat – see the website for details.
When to do it
The Parade takes place in the evening on the first Saturday in March. The Mardi Gras festival itself runs from mid-February until the beginning of March.
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