The incredible thing about Australia during the months of February and March is that this Aussie summer season makes for one hot Mardi Gras celebration! Thousands of people come together Down Under to mingle and meet for one special Sydney Mardi Gras. Events span over two weeks and will shake you to the core of your being with plenty of festivities to go around. Whatever your celebratory style may be, you’ll be sure to find many events that are just right for you. Start by checking out our Sydney Mardi Gras 2012 Top Ten List; we might even see you there!

Fair Day- February 12th

Fair Day is the ultimate way to kick off the official Mardi Gras season. Fill February 12th with a fun and relaxed day out in the park with friends, family, and pets too! Up to 70 000 people routinely show up to sit on the grass, browse the stalls, enjoy the wide range of delicacies available at food stands, and have a few drinks. Fair Day runs from 10am until 8pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to get the whole family out and about to celebrate!

Homage- February 18th, 25th, and March 10th

Join local GLBTQI musicians as they pay Homage to their queer musical heroes in this cabaret tribute to our community’s trailblazers. Top-notch young talent from Sydney’s music scene will cover KD Lang, Antony & the Johnsons, Melissa Etheridge, Ricky Martin, Ani DiFranco, Gossip, the Village People, Dusty Springfield and so many more amazing queer artists. Come together in this musical celebration to record our history, celebrate our heroes, and reflect on the songs which are etched into the queer memory bank. Every Saturday night 5 different bands will be featured at the Blackcat Lounge at the Sidetrack Theater for a different collection of tunes and talent, classic hits and few undiscovered gems.

Anything Goes- February 17th, 23rd, 26th

Wilkommen! The delightfully dark and decadent Anything Goes Cabaret returns to Sydney Mardi Gras Festival 2012. Yet again, Venus Vamp and friends bring their raunchy revue of burlesque, boylesque, drag and song, steeped in the gin soaked vestiges of Weimar Berlin. Under the fading spotlight you will meet an assortment of dapper women and dashing men. Ladies and gents, please put on your top hats, pull those stockings up and kick up your heels for the cabaret is here! Leave your troubles and inhibitions outside, and let the depravity begin! For starting at $12, anything goes at the Oxford Hotel.

Harbour ’12- February 25th

The hottest party of Sydney Mardi Gras is Harbour, located next to the Sydney Harbor in the Botanic Gardens at sunset on February 25th. This iconic setting makes for a memorable night of drinks and dancing as the sun shines down, and sets down, on its favorite Mardi Gras stars! There will also be an abundance of music, fueled by the best international DJ’s around and tons of live performances. This is a true not-to-be-missed Sydney experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Tickets are on sale starting at $119, but get them soon cause they’re going like hotcakes!

Queer Thinking 2012- February 25th

Queer Thinking is a thought-provoking event that brings together some of the world’s most influential intellectuals to discuss their work, passions and communities. This event explores who we are, why we are and what we do. As entertaining as it is explorative, it challenges audiences to think about diversity, the queer experience and putting ourselves in another person’s shoes. Get tickets to this all day event starting at only $12 and get those mental gears turning to engage in the dialogue.

Mardi Gras Pool Party- February 27th

On February 27th, get wet and wild at one of Sydney’s most exclusive clubs- the Ivy Pool Bar. Either strip down and take your hot summer body poolside or relax with a cocktail on the sublime cabana lounges checking out the eye candy. Whether you want to enjoy an evening dip in the pristine pool or simply dance all night, this party is the place for you. Between the beautiful people and the Australian summer, you will definitely need an excuse to escape the heat. Indulge yourself this Sydney Mardi Gras and make a splash at the Pool Party at The Ivy, starting at $39.

Drag Races at Bondi Beach- March 2nd

On March 2nd, Sydney’s drag kings and queens emerge from the dark of the nightclubs to compete in the sunny world famous Bondi Beach. At the hilarious Drag Races, kings and queens battle it out for their chance at the ultimate crown. This year’s competition is going to be fiercer and funnier than ever, with a bigger arena and tons of over-the-top activities. Get into a frock or paint on a moustache and join the camp’s free afternoon in the sun.

Mardi Gras Parade- March 3rd

The Sydney Mardi Gras Parade was once a site for tension and persecution; it has evolved over its three-decade history into a true celebration of love and LGBT pride. People of all backgrounds and cultures come together in Sydney every Mardi Gras to strut their stuff and express themselves as members of the rainbow community, so this highlight is not to be missed. This free event will be taking place on March 3rd  from 7:45 p.m. to 10 p.m.. The Parade route begins at Oxford and Flinders Streets in Darlinghurst, New South Wales, so be sure to grab a seat in the 900+ person crowd. It has also recently been announced that music icon Kylie will be returning to Australia for Mardi Gras this year, so expect to see her among the festivities!

Mardi Gras Party- March 3rd

On March 3rd, expect 15,000 or more locals and visitors alike at this iconic dance party. Promising a Mardi Gras Party like none other before, 2012 will see the Entertainment Quarter transformed into a theme park: Mardigrasland. This crazy Mardi Gras Land promises an adventurously sexy ride through a whole night of music, dancing and electrifying acts including RuPaul, D.E. Experience, Sneaky Sound System, Chicane and Horse Meat Disco. Tickets start at $99 and are SO worth it- you’ll get to go on the trip of a lifetime!

The Laneway- March 4th

Expect crazy times in the laneway the day after the Parade and Party was a much-loved Mardi Gras tradition that is being brought back this year. To celebrate the end of Sydney Mardi Gras, brace yourself for star moments, drop-in DJs, pop-up performances and a fun atmosphere where the lane is the stage! The Laneway will have 5 different party spaces to offer, giving post-party punters the perfect place to party on. You can even relax in the sun and enjoy taking in the old school Laneway vibe. Bounce between party spots at this over-the-top event that will surely leave you begging for next year’s Mardi Gras celebration to roll around soon. Tickets for this post-party party start at $39.

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