The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is the world's most spectacular celebration of LGBTQI pride – now in its 43rd year. After undoubtedly the most challenging year in 2020, the 2021 theme ‘Rise’ understands the pain that many people have gone through and stands alongside them in support. We know and love the power of people and communities that rise together to support others to overcome adversity and inequality - It’s time we rise together again.
So how can you celebrate and embrace this year’s Mardi Gras theme? We’ve prepared this handy guide to celebrating with friends, whether your plans are to head out, or throw your very own rainbow themed soiree at home.
Get your GLAM on
Heading out to Mardi Gras festivities? Get glammed up by the team at Hair Culture, Hermosa and Hairhouse at Stockland Merrylands for the ultimate Mardi Gras weekend style. From a new colour, cut or dramatic style, their teams have got you and your friends covered.
Maintain that Summer glow and reach your skin goals with specialised beauty treatments from Evolution Laser, Results Laser Clinic, and Eva Beauty. If you love a good pamper session as much as we do, book yourself in today.
And speaking of glam.. did someone say rainbow nails or glitter? Head in to Pearl Nails, Blush Nails & Beauty, The Nails Club and The Nail Salon for the ultimate statement nails for Mardi Gras.
Complete your glam look with a touch of bling! Find your very own special piece of glitz and glamour at Colette By Colette Hayman, Lovisa and Pandora. Head in to discover their range of gorgeous pieces from rings to statement earrings, necklaces and hair accessories.
New outfit.. check!
Looking for that perfect party dress with just the right mix of drama and sparkle? Head to Decjuba, Sportsgirl, Sheike or Forever New to create your statement outfit to dance in under the disco ball all night long. Also be sure to continue the shopping spree at Ally, Fresh Soul and Kayra.
We love that new shoes feeling and what better excuse to go shopping than Mardi Gras? Sheriton Shoes have you covered with these little gems now in store.
Combine snake skin and sparkle with these Danger Stilletos. If these aren’t your style, check out Novo Shoes.
For the dapper gentleman, you can’t go wrong with a printed statement shirt and Connor has the largest variety of prints from florals, to paisley and everything in-between. Also check out Plot Clothing, Industrie and Yd.
Celebrate with FOOD
Celebrations and food go together like drag queens and glitter! Feeling a little spicy? Head to Thainabox and enjoy their signature spicy crispy pork and Thai style Mongolian lamb.
If casual dining is more your thing, head to Mase Café, The Coffee Club, Escape Café, Espresso Warriors and The Coffee Emporium and feast all your café favourites and yummy desserts. You can thank us later!
Head to the Parade
This year, the Mardi Gras Parade will be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground under a Covid-safe event plan on Saturday 6 March. For the first time it will be a ticketed event due to current NSW Health guidelines. Check out the full parade and ticket details here.
Throw a Mardi Gras Parade viewing party
Broadcast live on SBS On Demand from 6pm AEDT on Saturday 6 March, with the parade at 7.30pm AEDT on SBS and NITV. Grab the rainbow skittles, a bottle of bubbles and settle for an evening in front of box with your nearest and dearest.. party in your PJs!
Hosted by Joel Creasey, Courtney Act, Narelda Jacobs and Zoë Coombs Marr, the broadcast will feature the most fabulous floats and costumes in the parade, plus a stellar lineup of glittering performances, as well as interviews with a list of soon-to-be announced celebrity guests. Get the full rundown here.
Host a Mardi Gras karaoke night
It’s time to channel your inner drag queen and sing your heart out to Mardi Gras anthems including ‘I will survive’, ‘Lady Marmalade’, ‘Baby one more time’ or whatever your heart desires.
Don’t have a karaoke machine? Why not play your favourite disco tracks at home and have a lip-syncing competition with friends? Extra points if you dress up in your very own Drag Queen costume. RuPaul has the ultimate playlist for lip-syncing on Spotify. Speaking of RuPaul..
Binge watch RuPaul’s Drag Race
RuPaul is the authority in all things drag, so get in the Mardi Gras state of mind by binge watching RuPaul’s Drag Race with friends, now streaming on Stan. Just add popcorn and cocktails and you’re set for the ultimate night in.
Laugh Out Proud
Australia's best and brightest LGBTQI+ comedians are back for 'Laugh Out Proud'. Featuring a stellar line-up of hilarious queer stand-up talent, Laugh Out Proud is Mardi Gras' comedy event of the year! Grab your tickets here.
Check out local Mardi Gras events
Mardi Gras isn’t just about the parade, there are plenty of local City of Sydney events happening around town. The festivities kick off on Friday 19 February and run until Sunday 7 March, featuring a fabulously diverse program of events including dazzling dance parties, top-tier theatre, music, world-class workshops and family focused fun. Check out the full Mardi Gras Festival Guide here.