Jarrod didn’t really know what to expect from his Mardi Gras Parade debut, but the spectacle and splendor exceeded all his wildest expectations…
I was very excited for Mardi Gras this year. Not because of Kylie, not because of the after party and not because I had something awesome to wear.
I was excited because this was my very first Mardi Gras experience!
I had never even seen the parade before (in person or on TV) and this year I was going to be a part of it.
My friends were organising the DJ Ruby float and invited me to take part in dancing along side the float for the parade. I jumped at the chance and it stayed on my mind for the entire week leading up to the parade.
Saturday came and as parade performers we had to be checked in to Hyde Park by 7pm. I headed off to my friend’s house for some pre-drinks and dressing up. They were covered in sequins and I was wearing the Native American headdress that I bought for the occasion.
We got to Hyde Park at about 6pm and already I was overwhelmed. The amount of people, the costumes, the effort that people had put in to everything, and of course the atmosphere. You could just feel that a big party was about to happen.
We went to find our float and to introduce me to the people we would be marching/dancing with that night. This is when the rain started.
I had been told that Mardi Gras is no stranger to rain and I was very thankful that some of my new friends had planned ahead and brought umbrellas.
What I enjoyed most about this part of the night was how open and friendly everyone was. People were walking around talking to each other about their costumes, their floats, their past experiences. There was a great sense of togetherness.
But what I enjoyed least was that blisters were starting to form on my heels!
After three hours of chatting, dancing, shivering and perving it was time to march. My first thought upon stepping on to Oxford Street was “Oh my god! Look at all these people!” I knew that there would be big crowds, but the packed crowds went on and on and on.
It was also fantastic just to interact with the crowds. People loved it when you waved back at them, gave them high-fives and just responded when they shouted things at you. There were also plenty of requests for hugs but I left that up to the muscled guys in undies who were marching with us.
I also didn’t expect to see so many families and young kids coming to show their support. Some of the kids looked like they were having more fun than we were and they went wild for high-fives!
The crowd control volunteers were also really great at keeping the crowds motivated and much like everyone else on the night they were also very friendly.
After all was said and done we dismantled the float and I decided to head home with my feet being far too sore and the city being far too crowded for me to go on.
All in all I had some of the most fun that I have had in a long time and it was an experience that not only will I never forget, but that I hope to repeat again and again.
So if you’ve never been to Mardi Gras, appeared in the parade, or felt such a strong sense of togetherness and acceptance in the LGBT community, I highly recommend you give it a go. You won’t regret it.