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Key Points
  • Sydney’s 46th annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade is held on Saturday 2 March.
  • The parade travels down Oxford and Flinders Streets to Moore Park.
  • More than 200 floats will take part this year.
It’s time to get the sequins and glitter ready for those attending Sydney’s 46th annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, or perhaps a comfortable outfit for those watching the festivities at home.

Here are the key facts about the parade held on Saturday 2 March, which is the shining jewel in the crown of the Mardi Gras festival, which has been underway for nearly two weeks.

What is Mardi Gras and why is it celebrated?

Sometimes described as “gay Christmas”, Mardi Gras is a celebration of LGBTIQ+ pride and progress.

Organisers of the parade and festival describe it as a “colourful explosion of self-expression, celebration and protest”.

More than 200 floats and 12,000 marchers are expected to participate this year.
The first Mardi Gras was a protest in 1978, coordinated in solidarity with other gay and lesbian groups around the world on the .

Police beat and arrested 53 people and newspapers published their names, occupations and addresses.

In 2016, the NSW Police Force apologised for its actions at the first Mardi Gras.
There has been renewed controversy over the role of police at the parade, with the Mardi Gras board amid grief and sadness in the LGBTIQ+ community after a police officer allegedly
A man with a crown and wings

Road closures will be in place in the evening. Source: AAP / Paul Braven

A deal was then made that NSW police could march but in t-shirts instead of police uniforms.

This year’s Mardi Gras Fair Day was cancelled after asbestos was found at the site and a replacement venue was unable to be found.

What is the Mardi Gras route in Sydney?

The parade is led by the Dykes on Bikes contingent, followed by the First Nations float and the 78ers (the term for those who marched in the original 1978 parade).

A map of Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade route

A map of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade route. Source: SBS News

It will travel from the corner of Hyde Park and Oxford Street, along Oxford and Flinders Streets towards Moore Park, with thousands expected to watch from the sidelines.

A ticketed party will be held near the finish line at Moore Park, with Adam Lambert and CeCe Peniston headlining.

Two women on a motorbike with rainbow flags

Dykes on Bikes lead the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras each year. Source: AAP / Mark Baker

Dozens of other parties will be held in the city.

Major roads will be closed between the Sydney CBD and Moore Park from 3pm, and people will not be able to cross Oxford Street from 7pm.

How to watch the Mardi Gras parade

Watching from the street is free and unticketed though likely to be crowded.
There are some viewing areas along the parade route for which people can buy tickets.

Those wanting to watch from home can watch the parade coverage on ABC from 7.30 pm, and some coverage will be shown on SBS World News and SBS’ social media channels.

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