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The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras turns 40 this year, and with the YES vote fresh in our minds, you know it's going to be a hell of a party, one that even CHER couldn't resist!
But it's not all about the party and parade! The festival brings LGBTQI communities from around the world to Sydney, to enjoy a great program of events, including Fair Day, launching this year's festival on Sunday 18, February.
It's a big day out that brings everyone together, and really showcases the diversity of the LGBTQI community. It's free, family-friendly and attracts over 70,000 people each year. The carnival atmosphere is fabulous, welcoming, exciting and at times outrageous. You can expect to be entertained, educated and connected. There's a melting pot of activity that blends the every-day with unique with events such as The Doggwood stage and drag cabaret shows. With over 250 stalls on site, it's also a great place to get information on a range of services and support networks for members of the community.
I can't wait to get down to Fair Day on Sunday. I think the LGBTIQ+ community feels invigorated and more connected than it has been in years. Celebrating 40 years of the world renowned festival and the success of the Yes vote for love and equality, there is no better event on Earth than Mardi Gras to truly celebrate.
The program this year is really exciting and there's so much to see and do. Number one on my list is to hear the 78ers- The Stonewall 1978 generation, speak at the event. The original group of individuals who stood up for our community and got this festival started 40 years ago. Who knows where we would be without their contribution. Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who is a great supporter will also be speaking. I'm also looking forward to checking out the sports village where anything goes, the Tropicana bar with a great mix of DJ's and as always, the dog show – Doggywood Best in Show. It's so much fun!
I feel Mardi Gras this year belongs to everyone, more than it ever has. I think the YES vote will have a positive impact on youth across Australia, so this in itself is something everyone who voted YES should feel immensely proud of. For myself personally, queer feels cool again! I am excited to stand proud, be seen, celebrate the community. What better way than by taking the world stage at Mardi Gras and having a fabulous time at Fair Day!
Happy 40th Mardi Gras! Check out the festival program