Mardi Gras Ain’t Just The Parade So Here’s 9 Other Ways To Celebrate

So the Mardi Gras parade is coming up real fast – you know, that fuck-off huuuge parade/party that blocks off all of Oxford St (which is normally a fkn ghost town these days) and fills the streets with glitter and painted boobs and exposed arse cheeks for literally thousands of revellers who wanna celebrate pride and diversity in the middle of Sydney‘s LGBTQI heartland.

But did you know that the Mardi Gras festival is actually a massive two-week long event that covers all pockets and corners of Sydney, with a whole shitload of things to do to keep your brain engage and your curiosity about sexuality and gender whetted. 

Peep your eyes and get your calendar/diary/personal PA ready, friends, because your Feb-March is about to get a whole lot more fabulous.


Mardi Gras is a deeply creative time in the queer calendar. It’s the bracket of the year when all the glitz and glamour literally come out on parade, and so it also brings a bunch of great creative minds into the spotlight.

Chili Philly is showing off all his knitted creations (!!) in an exhibition called Chili Philly: Crochet Social at the Australian Design Centre in Woolloomooloo, which means you can go and check out all of his incred. woollen creations IN THE DAMN FLESH.

It’s running from now until March 5 so don’t drop a stitch on that one, mates.

A photo posted by ChiliPhilly (@chiliphilly) on

There’s a whole bunch of exhibitions running over the festival, if you want to get more visual arts in your face. The Art Gallery of NSW is running a huge collection of stuff from the archives of Andy Warhol before his iconic Pop‘ era, giving an insight into Warhol from his days in advertising. Adman: Warhol Before Pop runs from Feb 25 to May 28.

Want even more art? Yeah ya do. Be sure to get your eyeballs on Liquere – the first solo exhibition from Danny Eastwood, which explores the fluidity of the human form through a series of stunning photographs. You can check it out at Black Eye Gallery in Darlinghurst from now until March 5.


What even is the Mardi Gras without a whole lot of parties? There’s a heap of shindigs happening over the course of the festival, more opportunities to get low and shake what ya mama gave ya than you can poke a stick at. 

On March 3, to amp you up for the big parade weekend party, Ru Paul’s Drag Race queen hunty, Sharon Needles, is chucking a big ‘do over at the Midnight Shift from 8pm til’ late. Sissy that walk all the way up Oxford St to get into that party, that’s gunna go off.

A photo posted by Sharon Needles (@sharonneedlespgh) on

Koori Gras are on at 107 Projects in Redfern from Feb 21-26, giving the spotlight to First Peoples LGBTI identities with talks and stories shared, Klub Koori are celebrating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTI community with a big showcase at Bar Cleveland on the night of the big parade.


That’s right, Mardi Gras is also having its own fkn comedy festival. The festival kicks off with a Comedy Gala on Feb 28 with pants-wettingly good and funny people like Stephen K Amos, Axis of Awesome, and Hannah Gadsby, hosted by our very own Bob Downe and Em Rusciano

If that’s not enough belly-achers for ya, then pop along to Gaymes Night, hosted by Joel Creasey and Rhys Nicholson, where they’ll be literally coercing people to partake in some particularly naughty games in the name of laughter and ~entertainment~. 


If you’re more into the sport side of things, there’s a whole bunch of activities and events to get your heart racing and blood pumping. 

Chuck ya joggers and best nipple guards on and get into the Rainbow Run on Feb 25 in Sydney Park or the Little Black Dress Run in Centennial Park on Feb 26 to have a bit of a run around and burn off the last of the energy drinks you pounded the night before.

A photo posted by Little Black Dress Run (@littleblackdressrun) on

Or, if you’re more into promoting inclusivity in sport, there’s a big panel of LGBTI sporting icons like Matthew Mitcham, Sally Shipard and Daniel Kowalski getting together with sporting legend Greg Louganis at University of Technology Sydney on March 2 to talk about the current climate of homophobia in sport and what can be done to fix Australia’s sporting culture. Get your hands on a ticket here.

HOO. BOY. That’s a lot of activities packed in nice and toight into the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, so don’t sook that you don’t have anything to do.

Photo: Getty / Steve Christo.