Image for Aussie stars shone at kaleidoscopic Mardi Gras 2014

Aussie stars shone atkaleidoscopic Mardi Gras 2014

Like they always say at Sydney Mardi Gras, ‘You can’t have a rainbow without the rain’, and a few showers certainly did not stop the massive annual Parade and Party from delighting Sydney with our kaleidoscopic display of LGBTI diversity.

10,000 excited parade participants woke up on Saturday to heavy rain and were relieved to see it clear in the afternoon. Down on the harbour, the gigantic Queen Elizabeth luxury liner entered Sydney with a giant message to the city, as the gorgeous video below shows.

In the evening it was time for the 36th annual Parade, and after the roar of the Dykes on Bikes engines got the crowd revved up, a damp Oxford Street was soon soaked with glitter as 144 vibrant floats shimmied down it. Anyone who’s ever been part of the Mardi Gras Parade will tell you how awesome that feels as the crowd waves and cheers you.

We have many more photos to come, but here’s the first few:

This year’s many stand-out float appearances included Magda Szubanski marching with Twenty10, Penny Wong’s first Mardi Gras Parade with Labor, Delta Goodrem singing with dancing teeth in the Oral-B float, the temporary return of the rainbow crossing, the first Intersex Australia float, two giant Vladimir Putin puppets, 100 hot Fitness First dancers, and Baz Luhrmann’s epic Strictly Ballroom finale to finish.

The SBS broadcast of the Parade was broadcast last night and hosted by Tom Ballard, Patrick Abboud and Heather Peace. Missed it? You can now catch up with the show online via SBS’s website here.

It was also the first time ourselves marched in the Parade, and we were so thrilled to be there. Inspired by own our logo and Mardi Gras’ 2014 imagery, our float’s theme was a kaleidoscopic flock of birds.

Rumours about huge Party surprise international acts like Kylie, Gaga, Cher and even Dolly Parton were debated and discussed all through this Mardi Gras season, but they were put to bed early on in the night, which ultimately starred Tina Arena, Samantha Jade, Courtney Act and Marcia Hines.

Here’s Tina Arena at 2am:

And Samantha Jade got the fire started at 5am:

Nathan Mahon and Adam George were joined by Marcia Hines at 8am:

The RHI stage looked amazing this year, clearly a huge step up in production quality from previous years, and providing Courtney Act with a spectacular setting for her Midnight show, doing the Great Gatsby number A Little Party Never Killed Nobody with dozens of energetic back-up dancers.

As always, the night involved several dance spaces, a highlight for our crew being the all-female DJ line-up at the Hi-Fi where there was a strong R’n’B vibe, and Dan Murphy and Kitty Glitter’s crowd-pleasing sets in the RHI.

Crowd numbers this year were a little lower, but the event still looked busy throughout, with punters always able to move very freely through the various spaces without congestion at entrances.

Now that the Mardi Gras events are over for another year, the festival’s crew are reflecting on what the events mean to them, to Sydney, to our LGBTI culture and to the world.

“Mardi Gras is a chance for all of our communities, our tribes, our colours, to come together,” they say. “To stand as one body and draw strength from each other. Mardi Gras is the time literally to colour yourself in. Like a colour wheel, our colours begin to merge and overlap creating beautiful new opportunities.

“Our colours become saturated, our lights shine brighter and our voices become amplified as we celebrate and showcase our diversity. The festival, parade and parties are our time to shine, our moment in the sun.”

The photos on this page are by Hamid Mousa for Sydney Mardi Gras. See more here – they are awesome.

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