Mardi Gras comes to the MLC Centre, join in the celebrations this February.
Love, it’s all around and this year is no different. It’s the 38th year of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the year when a piece of the festival comes to the MLC Centre.
With a program that makes Sydney sparkle from February 17 to March 5, this year will see the blocks on our Martin Place steps wrapped in vinyl, in the festival’s signature orange to celebrate the Creating Equality Campaign. And, at the concierge’s desk, you will find official Mardi Gras Merchandise available for a gold coin donation, with all donations going to ACON, a NSW-based health organisation specialising in HIV prevention. A great way to make a change with your spare change.
So, how to celebrate Mardi Gras this year? With more than 80 events spread across two weeks, we pick the go-to’s for you.
It’s show time: watch the parade.
On Saturday, March 4 from 7pm, join a crowd of 10,000 as they celebrate sparkles and self-expression. The parade was born as a political protest in 1978 and now it’s an extravaganza commemorating love and life. Head to the corner of Oxford and Flinders Street for the best view and be sure to BYO milk crate and picnic rug. The parade runs for a little over four hours and it is completely free.
Find a league of your own: see a movie
On February 17, head to Auburn’s Reading Cinema to see the 25th anniversary screening of the cult classic A League of Their Own. It’s part of the Madonna marathon that marks this year’s Mardi Gras. Settle in with popcorn to watch the long-loved gay icon, star as ‘All The Way Mae Mordabito' alongside Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Lori Petty and Rosi O’Donnell. Talk about an all-star cast.
Get cultured: head to the Gallery
It’s the perfect after-work spot to get involved in Mardi Gras: hit The Art Gallery of NSW on Wednesday, March 1 for the after-hours bar in celebration of the ‘Queer Warhol’ as part of the festival’s Queer Thinking Series. It’s free (like all the best things in life) and there are plenty of pop-up performances. If you get there early, be sure to check out the Adman: Warhol Before Pop exhibition, a show dedicated to Andy Warhol’s early career.
Laneway party: farewell the festival
Say goodbye to this year’s Mardi Gras in style at the Laneway Party on Sunday March 5 (2pm) - Monday March 6 (2am). This long-held tradition began years ago with a portable stereo and a few milk crates on nearby Hill Street and has now evolved into and all-singing, all-dancing party at The Beresford Hotel. You’ll find live music, pop up drag shows, international DJs like Victoria Anthony, Haylenise and Amanda Louise, and plenty of divas.