March is almost here, and that means one thing: The massive extravaganza known as Sydney Mardi Gras is upon us once again.
Actually a three week celebration that this year started February 8, Mardi Gras’s peak is its final four-day stretch, with the full climax coming at Saturday’s Mardi Gras Parade (which always happens on the first Saturday in March) and its iconic after-party, Mardigrasland.
2013 marks the 35th edition of Sydney Mardi Gras, meaning that the goings-on will be extra spectacular in Australia’s biggest and gayest city. Some half a million queers and their friends from around the world will attend this year’s edition.
Thursday, February 28
TOP | Sydney Tower
A literal high point of Mardi Gras, this official annual kick-off party way atop Sydney Tower will this year feature RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Willam, plus West Hollywood celeb Rhea Litré.
UnderWhere? Party | Arq
Thousands of guys from around the world will drop trou for this huge dance party, sponsored by Gaydar.
Play Party | HeadQuarters on Crown
This raciest (and most discreet) of the many Bear Essentials events during Mardi Gras happens at Sydney’s ultimate playground for men, HeadQuarters on Crown. This year’s Bear Essentials theme is “Get Your Bear On.”
Mardi Gras Drag Races | Bondi Beach
Sydney’s top drag kings and queens – professionals and amateurs alike – compete on the sunny sands of world famous Bondi Beach (left), in contests like the Handbag Discus and the Dainty Dune Dash.
March for Marriage Equality
Community Action Against Homophobia presents this marriage equality rally, themed “Generations of Protest” (in a nod to the main Mardi Gras theme this year, “Generations of Love”).
FOMO | Arq
The annual Mardi Gras foam party returns at Arq, one of Sydney’s biggest dance clubs.
Saturday, March 2
Sydney Mardi Gras Parade
The centerpiece of Mardi Gras weekend (right), this year’s parade is the 35th annual. Some 10,000 will take part in the parade itself, while hundreds of thousands line the streets to cheer them on.
Mardigrasland | Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
The party highlight of Mardi Gras, this post-parade bash draws more than 17,000 every year, with seven uniquely-themed spaces and a slew of top DJs and acts, some too big to be announced until the last minute (previous years’ delights have included David Guetta, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, Olivia Newton-John, Adam Lambert, and last year’s Kylie Minogue).
Sunday, March 3
This official afternoon Mardi Gras closing party happens on the Hill Street laneway between the Beresford and Flinders Hotels, with pop-up performances and top DJ drop-ins.
Finale | Home Nightclub
Sharon Needles makes her Sydney debut at this annual Mardi Gras tail-end party at Home Nightclub.
Also Not to Miss This Weekend in Sydney…
La Soirée | Sydney Opera House
This wildly popular “adult circus” brings together some of the world’s hottest acts (including lots of male eye candy) from the realms of cabaret, burlesque, sideshow and vaudeville.
Torch Song Trilogy | Darlinghurst Theatre
It’s the final few days for the Harvey Fierstein favorite’s hit run at the Darlinghurst, which closes March 3.
Beautiful Thing | Seymour Centre
The Jonathan Harvey play that begat the successful British gay movie returns to Sydney for its 20th anniversary (left), in conjunction with Mardi Gras. Ends March 2.